Canadians Anticipate Record Holiday Spending with a Focus on Savings, According to RCC X Leger Holiday Shopping Survey


Share post:

Canadians are projected to spend an unprecedented $898 this holiday season with 88 per cent of them seeking ways to make their budgets go further, according to the 6th annual RCC X Leger Holiday Shopping Survey from the Retail Council of Canada (RCC).

The survey was conducted by Leger. 

Diane J. Brisebois

“Even with prevailing financial concerns on Canadians’ minds, the desire to connect with loved ones and shop and share gifts and experiences remains undeterred,” said Diane J. Brisebois, President and CEO, Retail Council of Canada. “Retailers across the nation recognize these needs and will be providing Canadians with unique holiday shopping experiences, bolstered by exceptional products and engaging, value-added promotions.”

Key findings from the report include:

Landsdowne Centre (Image: Colliers)
  • Canadians predict they will spend an average holiday expenditure of $898, a rise from last year’s $782. A substantial 80 per cent of this amount will be allocated for gifting others;
  • Economic apprehensions, including inflation and rising living costs, weigh on many. Accordingly, 88 per cent (vs 83 per cent in 2022) of Canadians are turning to proactive holiday shopping tactics, most notably hunting for sales (52 per cent), preparing in advance (41 per cent), and adhering to a precise budget (40 per cent);
  • To help shoppers decide which retailers to buy from this year, Canadians are prioritizing holiday sales/promotions (66 per cent) and free shipping (55 per cent). They are also looking for in-store exclusives (48 per cent) and distinct online promotions (60 per cent) to provide additional value;
  • In-store shopping will benefit from value bundles (26 per cent) and product sampling (25 per cent). Conversely, online shopping will be amplified by unique product offers and extended return policies, both at 33 per cent;
  • A growing number of Canadians are delaying significant buys, waiting for expected deals around the popular shopping holidays. The survey highlighted anticipated increases in shopping intentions for: Singles Day (10 per cent, up from five per cent in 2022), Black Friday (40 per cent, up from 28 per cent in 2022), Cyber Monday/Week (37 per cent, up from 21 per cent in 2022), and Boxing Day (32 per cent, up from 18 per cent in 2022);
  • Clothing emerges as 2023’s frontrunner, constituting 17 per cent of the holiday budget, followed closely by home entertainment and essentials like food and alcohol grabbing 16 per cent of the planned spend;
  • 45 per cent of shoppers are leaning towards purchasing gift cards for others this season, with a notable 37 per cent of Canadians (up from 32 per cent last year) expressing a preference for receiving gift cards over traditional presents. Dining gift cards top the charts (42 per cent), while big-box retailers come in at 33 per cent and food outlets register at 27 per cent; and
  • Supporting local businesses this holiday has seen an increase in intent, with 82 per cent of Canadians accentuating its importance, a leap from 74 per cent last year.
Black Friday Sales at GameStop in the CF Toronto Eaton Centre (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

“Our findings for 2023 are both exciting and instructive. 90 per cent of Canadians plan to shop this holiday season. While they anticipate spending more than ever, 88 per cent are also looking proactively at various ways to get the most value. Even more than in previous years, many are holding off buying and planning to make their bigger purchases around hallmark shopping events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday/Week, in anticipation of grabbing the best deals,” said Brisebois in the report.

“However, as we see in a new section of this report based on Moneris’ historical payment data, planned and actual shopping don’t always align. If shoppers are not finding the deals they are expecting, they wait. This signals an unmatched opportunity for retailers: present the best offers at the right time and guide consumers to confidently make their purchasing decisions throughout the holiday season.

“The pandemic’s impact on reshaping shopping dynamics appears to have now stabilized, with 62 per cent of holiday budgets likely being spent in-store, and 38 per cent online. Today’s consumers are nevertheless seeking both unique experiences and offers to bring them into stores as well as distinct online offers to provide additional value. Tangible benefits, such as special savings, free shipping, hassle-free returns, and genuinely exclusive offers, will be the cornerstone traffic builders this year.”

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Mario was named as a RETHINK Retail Top Retail Expert in 2024.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More From The Author



Subscribe to the Newsletter


* indicates required

Related articles

Iconic Flo’s Diner in Toronto’s Yorkville Forced to Close After 33 Years Amid Landlord Dispute 

Retail Insider interviewed Flo’s co-owner who discusses the “heart wrenching” situation where he is being forced to close his business that began on Bellair Street in 1991.

Anatomy of a Leader: Teresa Spinelli, Owner of Alberta-Based Italian Centre Shop Ltd.

Spinelli discusses her leadership of the popular retailer which has expanded over the years, describing how she struggled to run the company at first and grew to love it.

Upscale Canadian Fashion Brand SMYTHE Expands with New Standalone Calgary Store [Interview/Photos]

It's the second store location for the Toronto-based brand, which is seeing success with its exclusive womenswear collections.

Toronto’s CF Sherway Gardens Hits Sales Milestone with Exciting Retail Growth and Future Plans [Interview]

The shopping centre is adding new retailers as sales per square foot hit an all-time high, with plans to re-tenant Nordstorm as foot traffic grows following Eataly's opening in the mall a few months ago.

ECS Coffee Opens Canada’s Largest Coffee and Espresso Equipment Gear Showroom and Retail Space in Toronto [Interview]

The new Etobicoke location is unique to Canada if not North America, according to its founder, with coffee roasting, equipment showroom, over 500 varieties of coffee, Youtube studio and various in-store experiences. He has plans to expand the concept nationally.

New Loblaws City Market Opens in Vancouver’s ‘The Post’ Building, Adding Grocery Competition to the Downtown Core [Podcast]

Craig and Lee discuss the opening of a new Loblaws City Market in downtown Vancouver's renovated Post building, and they explore its potential impact on local grocery shopping.

Loblaw Announces $2 Billion Investment in Canada for 2024 with Dozens of New Stores and 7,500 New Jobs [Expert Comment]

The retail behemoth will be growing substantially this year, following backlash over profits as inflation continues to impact Canadians.

Dubai-Based Asian Street Food Concept ‘Wok Boyz’ Expands into Canada with Plans for Multiple Locations [Interview]

The company's founder says the popular concept, with personalized meals, has an opportunity to grow substantially with its high-quality ingredients and theatrical flare, complete with fiery customer-facing woks.

Calgary Surge Basketball Team Launches Innovative Pop-Up at CF Chinook Centre to Boost Community Engagement [Interview]

The retail activation, which opened this month, is resulting in heavier foot traffic in a quieter part of the mall.

Upscale Pusateri’s Fine Foods to Close Yorkville Grocery Store in Toronto After 20 Years

The 5,500 square foot store opened to much fanfare in 2003, with valet parking, private chefs and pricey goods. 

Loblaw and Walmart Could be Forced to Adhere to Grocery Code of Conduct with Legislation [Op-Ed]

Sylvain Charlebois says that it's rare for all of Canada's political parties to agree, signalling a shift that could force grocers to comply amid record inflation.

Factory Direct to Shut All 14 Stores Amid Bankruptcy, Liquidation to Begin Saturday

The company, founded in 1995, is one of Canada’s largest privately owned discount retailers which struggled with declining sales and increasing costs following the pandemic.