Visa Canada

Visa Canada

December 19, 2007 08:00 ET

Albertans to Spend $2.7 Billion on Gifts This Holiday Season

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Dec. 19, 2007) - This holiday season, Albertans will be the country's biggest spenders. According to Visa Canada's ninth annual survey conducted by Omnitel, 2.1 million Albertans expect to spend an average of $1,252 each on holiday gifts, the highest in Canada and almost $200 more than the national average. This figure is also 20 percent more than Albertans expected to spend last year.

"Albertans have always been among the biggest spenders in the country during the holidays," said Tania Freedman, Director of Corporate Communications, Visa Canada. "Albertans tell us they are spending more because they have more people to give to and more money to spend."

To Give and To Receive

Most Albertans plan to shop for 11 people - one more than the national average. One in three say their spouse or partner will be the most difficult to buy for.

What will they be buying? Unlike the majority of Canadians, who plan to give clothing as the number one item this year, 74 percent of Alberta holiday shoppers are more likely to buy gift cards and gift certificates for their friends and family. Though computers rank much further down the list at 16 percent, Albertans are more than twice as likely to give a computer than shoppers in other provinces (seven percent). What do Albertans want to receive this year? Sixteen percent of Albertans want cash from Santa, the highest percentage in Canada. Next on the list are gift cards and gift certificates (12 percent) and electronics (10 percent).

Alberta's children will be well taken care of this year. Parents anticipate spending an average of $226 on their children this Christmas, second only to Atlantic Canada and above the national average of $204 per child. Each child can expect to get four gifts from their parents, just below the national average of 4.5. Parents say that clothing tops the list of gifts that children are asking for (17 percent), followed by toys (11 percent), electronics (10 percent) and gaming systems (eight percent).

With a Click of the Mouse...

When it comes to online holiday shopping, Alberta shoppers are among those least likely to purchase gifts online (second lowest only to Quebec). Just 24 percent plan to click their way through their holiday gift list. Compared with other provinces, those in Alberta will also be spending less online ($216) than the national average of $324. Those that are shopping online are on the hunt for electronics (35 percent), books (25 percent) and clothing (27 percent).

'Tis the Season

Alberta shoppers plan to take an average eight days off over the holidays, although one in three won't take any time off at all. Given the choice, 74 percent would rather spend time with their extended family than go on vacation. When looking ahead to this holiday season, the majority of Albertans enjoy spending time with friends and family (69 percent of respondents) is the best part, followed by holiday dinners (17 percent), gift giving (11 percent) and time off work (10 percent).

Alberta holiday shoppers plan to celebrate the festive season by attending an average of four holiday parties and they expect to spend $374 on holiday entertaining - 15 percent more than the average Canadian spend of $325. Only Quebecers intend to spend more ($384).

Remembering Those in Need

Albertans are among the most generous when it comes to charity. Two-thirds of Alberta shoppers will donate money during the holiday season. The average amount given is $228, second only to British Columbia.

Almost three out of four Albertan shoppers (74 percent) plan to donate food to charity this year, the highest percentage in Canada. Albertans will also donate clothing (68 percent) and money (63 percent). More than one third (35 percent) of Alberta shoppers plan to donate time to a worthy cause during the holiday season.

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


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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