BMO Financial Group

BMO Financial Group
BMO Bank of Montreal

BMO Bank of Montreal

December 22, 2015 06:00 ET

BMO Holiday Spending Report: Canadians Optimistic About Avoiding Holiday Debt; Looking to Leverage Rewards

Survey reveals shopping trends and Canadians' plans to avoid a Holiday Hangover in 2015

-- Only 12 per cent expect to incur debt this holiday season

-- Two-thirds say they prefer to shop using their credit card to earn rewards points

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Dec. 22, 2015) - Canadians report they are going to be more strategic in their spending this year, with fewer expecting to go into debt and more turning to rewards such as points, miles and cashback to extend their purchasing power, according to the 2015 BMO Holiday Spending report which was released today.

The report found that:

  • Only 12 per cent of respondents expect to incur debt this year, compared to 32 per cent who spent beyond their means last year and accumulated an average of $759 in debt.
  • One-third of Canadians will be using rewards currencies to offset their purchases.

"It can be easy to get carried away when shopping at this time of year; however, once January rolls around, many come to realize the impact their over-spending can have on their overall household finances," said Nick Mastromarco, Managing Director, North American Retail Payments, BMO Bank of Montreal. "With this in mind, it's important that Canadians manage their spending carefully - and while it is a simple concept in theory, it can be much more challenging in practice."

Mr. Mastromarco added that in addition to planning purchases and payment methods ahead of time during the holiday season, working with a financial planner to assess spending patterns and determine priorities, such as paying down debt and saving for other goals, can help keep Canadians on track.

Millennials Keen to Leverage Rewards During Holiday Season

Using rewards currency can also stretch the dollar, and two-thirds of Canadians (66 per cent) report they like to shop using their credit card so they can earn more rewards. The BMO Holiday Spending Report indicates that Millennials are particularly keen to leverage their credit card rewards. The survey shows that about two-thirds of Millennials (61 per cent) say they will do some to all of their holiday shopping with a rewards currency and just under half (43 per cent) state they used their rewards currency to do some of their holiday shopping last year.

By comparison, 49 per cent of Canadians over the age of 55 plan to do more of their holiday shopping with rewards currencies (compared to 31 per cent last year).

"Being able to accumulate rewards during the holiday season is a great way to maximize the value you get from your shopping experience," said Mr. Mastromarco. "Having the right rewards program is important in ensuring that our customers are getting the most out of their purchases and, at BMO we're committed to providing the product or service that is right for them."

Mr. Mastromarco noted that the BMO AIR MILES MasterCard with no annual fee earns you 1 AIR MILES reward mile for every $20 you spend, offering a convenient and secure payment option with great loyalty reward features.

In other findings from the 2015 BMO Holiday Spending Report:

  • Almost half (49 per cent) of Canadians say they made a last minute "panic purchase," worried either of not having enough to give someone, or not having found the right gift earlier.
  • The same percentage report that they have made impulsive purchases during the holiday season, causing them to overspend.
  • Close to one-third (30 per cent) state they often regret how much they spent over the holidays.

Visit for more information on finding a card that works for you, and visit your local branch to speak to an expert on how to keep track of your finances and avoid the "holiday hangover."

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 $642 billion as of October 31, 2015, and close to 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.

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