Visa Canada

Visa Canada

December 19, 2007 05:00 ET

Atlantic Canadians to Spend $2 Billion on Gifts This Holiday Season

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwire - Dec. 19, 2007) - Atlantic Canadians (those in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI) are in a spending mood this holiday season. Results from Visa Canada's ninth annual gift-giving survey, conducted by Omnitel, reveal that 1.7 million Atlantic Canadians plan to spend an average of $1,128 on gifts - $67 higher than the national average and 30 percent more than last year.

"Shoppers in Atlantic Canada are tied with those in British Columbia for the biggest year-over-year increase in their December budgets for holiday gift purchases," said Tania Freedman, Director of Corporate Communications, Visa Canada. "However, Atlantic Canadians are spending less ($250) on holiday entertaining than any other region and $75 below the national average."

To Give and To Receive

Holiday shoppers in Atlantic Canada plan to buy nearly 14 gifts this year - the highest in Canada and two more than the national average. Why are they spending so much on holiday gifts this year? When those who reported an increase were asked to explain, respondents' answers were primarily split between "more people to give to", "more money to spend" and "higher prices".

Items at the top of wish lists this year include clothing (83 percent) followed by gift cards and certificates (76 percent). Compared to other regions, they are also the most likely to buy gifts online (32 percent), spending an average of $234 each.

A third of Atlantic Canadians believe that their spouse is the hardest person to shop for and East Coast shoppers spend the most money ($270) and buy the most gifts (four) for their "special someone" in comparison to the national average. And generosity among Atlantic Canadians doesn't stop at spouses - it also extends to their children. The average child living in the East Coast can expect at least five presents under the tree this holiday season, and 37 percent of parents plan to buy more than five gifts. The average spend per child is $272 - the highest regional amount spent on children in Canada this year.

Even pets and service providers will benefit from this generosity. Atlantic Canadians are the most likely to buy a present for their pet, with 36 percent reporting that they are planning to buy a little something for Fido or Fluffy, as compared to an average of 25 percent in other regions. Twenty-nine percent plan to give a gift to service people such as a paperboy or hairdresser, compared with an average of 18 percent in other regions.

Remembering Those in Need

Survey results also show that Atlantic Canadians are more likely to give charitable donations of food, money, clothing and time, in comparison to the average Canadian shopper. The survey found that 67 percent plan to give monetary donations this year with the average being $176. Further, 72 percent plan to donate food, 62 percent will donate clothing and 37 percent (the highest in Canada) plan to give their time to a worthy cause this holiday season.

'Tis the Season

Forty-two percent of employees in the region expect to have a holiday party or outing at work, which is the lowest average across Canada. The region also has the lowest percentage (36 percent) of workers who expect to take some time off to spend with their family and friends. Regardless of whether or not they will attend a staff holiday party, there will be no shortage of party-goers in the region. Atlantic Canadians plan to attend an average of 5.4 holiday parties compared with the national average of 4.6, and almost half will attend three or more holiday dinners.

More than receiving gifts or enjoying holiday dinners, by far the most enjoyable aspect of the holidays for those living in the Atlantic provinces is spending time with family and friends, mentioned by 67 percent of respondents.

The Visa Canada gift-giving survey was conducted between November 1 and 7, 2007 by Omnitel. A random national sample of 1,318 male and female respondents 18 years of age and older were interviewed via telephone. Results for a sample of this size are considered accurate, with a margin of error of 2.67 percent, 19 times out of 20.

About Visa

Visa operates the world's largest retail electronic payments network providing processing services and payment product platforms. This includes consumer credit, debit, prepaid and commercial payments, which are offered under the Visa, Visa Electron, Interlink and PLUS brands. Visa enjoys unsurpassed acceptance around the world and Visa/PLUS is one of the world's largest global ATM networks, offering cash access in local currency in more than 170 countries. For more information, visit

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Visa will be unable to provide a spokesperson for media interviews this year.

If you require clarification on data, please contact Joscelyn Smith, Thornley Fallis Communications, 416-473-3375,

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