BMO Financial Group

BMO Financial Group
BMO Bank of Montreal

BMO Bank of Montreal

November 19, 2015 06:00 ET

2015 BMO Holiday Outlook: From Gifts to Travel, Canadians Planning to Keep Holiday Spending in Check

- Travel Remains Top Spend: Spending expected to be flat year over year; travel accounts for the largest spend, followed by gifts and entertainment

- Change of Shopping Scenery: Malls continue to be the most popular place to shop, but nearly half of Canadians plan to shop online this season

- A Rewarding Spend: More Canadians plan to use rewards for gift buying and travel

- We're Here to Help: BMO offers tips for Canadians to help maximize their holiday spend, including choosing a credit card that rewards you

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Nov. 19, 2015) -

Editors Note: There is an infographic associated with this press release.

According to the 2015 BMO Holiday Outlook, Canadians are planning to spend an average of $1,551 - in line with the report's five-year average of $1,577 - with travel and gift buying accounting for the largest portion.

The report, conducted by Pollara, shows that:

  • Plans for holiday travel continue to top the spending list, with Canadians setting aside an average of $686 for holiday travel - virtually unchanged from the last two years
  • The amount of money spent on gifts is expected to increase slightly, with one quarter (25 per cent) planning to spend more than they did last year
  • Spending on entertaining is up slightly from last year at an average of just over $228

Holiday Spending Allocation - The Five Year Comparison

Purchases 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011
Gifts $563 $551 $678 $674 $583
Trips $686 $677 $689 $563 $360
Entertaining $228 $211 $282 $267 $307
Other (decorations) $74 $79 $161 $106 $148

Regional Breakdown - 2015 Holiday Spending Trends

Gifts $869 $422 $558 $608 $622 $585
Trips $550 $389 $790 $479 $1,202 $683
Entertaining $225 $186 $222 $224 $354 $225
Other (decorations) $89 $63 $77 $65 $77 $78

Furthermore, there has been a shift in shopping behaviours this year:

  • Most will begin their shopping in November (39 per cent) - the same as last year - with 30 per cent starting earlier and 28 per cent waiting until December
  • While malls continue to be the place to shop, their popularity is down this year (62 per cent, down 10 percentage points from last year)
  • There has also been a decrease in the use of big box stores (43 per cent, down 11 percentage points from last year)
  • Nearly half will shop online (49 per cent)
  • Only 8 per cent plan to head south of the border to shop this year, compared to 14 per cent last year

"The recession in oil-producing regions, paired with the fact that Canadian households, on average, are spending a record 14 per cent of their disposable income on debt payments, explains the flat spending this holiday season after a significant drop in 2014," said Sal Guatieri, Senior Economist, BMO Capital Markets.

One Third Planning to Use Rewards Points For Holiday Purchases and Travel

  • One third (35 per cent) said that when they've used a rewards currency to purchase a gift, they usually purchase additional gifts with the money they've saved
  • Another one third (34 per cent) said they have purchased a gift for someone to acquire the bonus rewards points, even if it wasn't the perfect gift
  • Three in ten plan to use their rewards currency to travel this holiday season

"Canadians are always looking for a product or program that allows them to get the most of their spending, from cash back incentives to rewards points. This is likely top of mind particularly during the holidays when households may spend more than usual," said Nick Mastromarco, Managing Director, Products, Acquisition and Partnerships, North American Retail Payments, BMO Bank of Montreal. "Leveraging a rewards program is a great strategy when it comes to offsetting your overall costs, whether for travel, charitable giving or other purchases, and at BMO we're committed to helping our customers choose a rewards product that's best for them."

BMO offers the following holiday shopping tips to help Canadians keep costs low and make the most of their spending:

Plan all purchases and payment methods: With many retailers offering advanced notice of sale items, shoppers can avoid the temptation of impulse spending by planning sale purchases in advance. Budgeting gifts and determining payment methods ahead of time can help maximize purchase savings.

Shop around for a credit card that rewards you: If used responsibly, credit cards are a great payment option because of their convenience, security and loyalty reward features. The no-fee BMO AIR MILES MasterCard earns you 1 AIR MILES reward mile for every $20 you spend, every time, everywhere.

Leverage rewards to offset costs: Just under one third (31 per cent) of Canadians plan to do more of their holiday shopping using reward points this year. Redeem reward currency to save on gifts, resulting in added savings and less post-holiday financial stress. For example, BMO World Elite MasterCard customers can redeem points to cover all flight charges and taxes on any airline with no blackout periods.

Visit for more information.

The survey results cited from the 2015 BMO Holiday Spending Report conducted by Pollara were compiled from a random sample of 1,000 Canadians 18 years of age and over between October 21 and October 22, 2015. A probability sample of this size would yield results accurate to ± 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified financial services provider based in North America. With total assets of approximately $672 billion as of July 31, 2015, and more than 47,000 employees, BMO provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers and conducts business through three operating groups: Personal and Commercial Banking, Wealth Management and BMO Capital Markets.

To view the infographic associated with this press release, please visit the following link:

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