Canadian consumers ready to spend
By Laura Aiken
Toronto – Consumer spending in Canada rose by 6.68 per cent in the third quarter of 2015 on a year-over-year basis, according to the MonerisMetrics Quarterly Report released by Moneris, one of North America’s largest processors of debit and credit payments. The study indicates Canadians spent less on gas, and more on restaurants and retail.
This is the fourth consecutive quarter in which consumer spending in Canada increased, marking a full year of spending gains in Canada. This quarter’s growth is on par with the first and second quarters of 2015, in which consumer spending increased by 5.78 per cent and 6.08 per cent, respectively.
“We saw healthy increases in Canadian consumer spending last quarter, consistent with Statistics Canada’s finding that retail sales climbed in July and August, with sales rising more than expected in August,” said Angela Brown, president and CEO of Moneris, in a news release. “This trend suggests Canadian consumers are feeling confident, and is a positive sign for retailers as we enter the busy holiday shopping season.”
Spending across Canada rose by 6.68 per cent overall, with increases of 6.18 per cent in July, 5.24 per cent in August and 7.47 per cent in September, reported Moneris. All provinces posted increases in year-over-year spending during the quarter. British Columbia posted the strongest increase (10.24 per cent) for the third consecutive quarter, followed by Ontario (8.99 per cent). Alberta posted the smallest increase (0.30 per cent) followed by Saskatchewan (1.95 per cent).
Credit card spending increased by 8.56 per cent over the same quarter last year, holding a 63 per cent share of purchases made. Debit sales rose by 5.70 per cent, representing 37 per cent of total card spending. Contactless (tap and pay) spending rose significantly – by 162 per cent year over year – demonstrating the extent to which Canadians have embraced this payment option.
Spending on foreign credit cards increased by 12.48 per cent over the third quarter in 2014. While cards from the United States remained the biggest driver of foreign spending, the most significant increase was spending on Chinese credit cards. Total spending on cards from China increased by 30.23 per cent over the same period last year.
“China has become one of Canada’s largest sources of foreign tourists in recent years,” said Brown, in the news release. “Foreign spending represents a great opportunity for Canadian businesses accepting methods of payment such as UnionPay, China’s leading credit card.”
With gas prices significantly lower than they were in the third quarter of last year, spending on gas and convenience was down 5.22 per cent year over year.
The restaurant category continued to perform well, posting a 9.31 per cent increase year over year. Fast food restaurants led the way with a 15.41 per cent increase, followed by bars and pubs (8.88 per cent) and dine-in restaurants (6.57 per cent).
All retail categories saw increases year over year, with the exception of men’s apparel, which saw a slight decrease (0.99 per cent). Spending at specialty retail stores was up 7.78 per cent overall, and within the category, the biggest gains were in home electronics stores (9.74 per cent), pet shops (9.63 per cent) and stores specializing in women’s accessories (9.32 per cent).
Apparel sales were up 4.48 per cent overall, with women’s clothing sales seeing the biggest increase at 7.27 per cent, followed by sporting apparel at 5.01 per cent.