Visa Canada

Visa Canada

December 19, 2007 08:00 ET

BC Shoppers to Spend $3.7 Billion on Gifts This Holiday Season

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Dec. 19, 2007) - British Columbians are in a giving mood this December. Holiday shoppers in this province expect to spend $1,204 each on holiday gifts - an increase of 30 percent over the $917 spent in 2006. Results from the ninth annual survey conducted by Omnitel for Visa Canada also indicates that British Columbians plan to spend $276 on charity - more than any other region and 41 percent above the national average.

"When we asked why they were spending more, the number one answer (43 percent) was that they simply had more money to spend this year," said Tania Freedman, Director of Corporate Communications, Visa Canada. "Among those who will give monetary donations, an impressive 10 percent said they'd donate more than $500 - the highest percentage in this category nation-wide."

To Give and To Receive

This holiday season, Canadians across the country are planning to spend more money on gifts - $1,061 total versus the 2006 average of $930. British Columbians expect to spend the second highest average by region ($1,204), just behind Alberta, but tie with Atlantic Canadians for the biggest year-over-year spend (30 percent more than in 2006). Perhaps valuing quality more than quantity, each BC shopper surveyed plans to buy an average of 11.5 gifts, slightly below last year's 12.7 gifts and just under this year's national average of 11.9 gifts.

By far, the most common gift that British Columbians can expect under the tree this year is clothing - 79 percent of respondents indicated that the latest fashions were on their shopping lists this year. Next on the list were toys (67 percent) and books (65 percent). BC shoppers plan to give slightly fewer gift cards and gift certificate than other regions; 64 percent plan to purchase these as gifts, versus the national average of 68 percent. BC shoppers are also more likely to give specialty foods (30 percent) than other regions - perhaps a tribute to the local bounty.

Thirty five percent of British Columbians find their spouse the most challenging person to shop for - more than anywhere else in Canada. However, this challenge doesn't stop shoppers from giving it their best shot - the average BC resident plans to spend $243 on their spouse, which is above the national average of $225. Thirty-one percent anticipates spending more than $200 on their significant other. BC residents are the least likely to shop for their in-laws this season (37 percent versus 45 percent nationally).

With a Click of the Mouse...

Despite all this shopping and spending, British Columbians are less tolerant of the long lines at the malls. The survey results show that Canadians overwhelmingly list crowds (59 percent) as the one seasonal aggravation they dislike most, and British Columbians have little hesitation about shopping online in order to avoid them. Thirty-three percent of BC respondents, compared to a national average of 26 percent, will shop online. They also plan to spend the most -$514 compared to $324 nationally. Books, more than any other gift, are the top choice for web-savvy BCers, with forty-four percent of respondents planning to purchase a book this season - the highest percentage across the country. Clothing bought online comes in at a distant second, with 24 percent clicking their way through the trendiest fashions.

'Tis the Season

Those in BC expect to attend the fewest parties - about three compared to the 4.6 average and less than half of the number expected in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. However, this doesn't mean that British Columbians will forego their holiday entertaining budget: they plan to spend $359 versus the national average of $325.

Remembering Those in Need

British Columbians will spend more than most on both their loved ones and those less fortunate. As the most generous charitable donors, British Columbians are maintaining the Christmas spirit by donating an average of $276 to charity - $80 above the national average.

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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