Environics Communications Inc.

Environics Communications Inc.

November 22, 2006 09:00 ET

Festive Fatigue - New Poll: Canadians stressed by seasonal shopping

Half agree that the stress of holiday shopping dampens the spirit of the season

Attention: Arts/Entertainment Editor, Health/Medical Editor, Lifestyle Editor, News Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO, MEDIA RELEASE--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 22, 2006) - Is there truth to the adage that it's better to give than receive? According to a new Decima Research study conducted for eBay Canada, almost half of Canadians older than 18 (49 per cent) feel the stress of holiday shopping takes the jingle out of their bells. In fact, the eBay Merry Meltdown Report reveals a quarter of Canadians (25 per cent) admit to experiencing intense frustration when shopping for holiday gifts, while others feel sheer panic (seven per cent) or suffer from a racing heart (six per cent).

These findings don't surprise Canadian therapist, Rhonda Katz, who notes that our psychological and even physical health can be compromised by the increased blood pressure, elevated heart rate and stress that can result from holiday shopping.

"The anxiety that comes with searching for the perfect gift is very real for many Canadians," Katz says. "Add to that the fact that we typically over-indulge in rich foods and drinks during the season, and it's a recipe for stress."

The survey also revealed that, as shoppers, 41 per cent of us feel the most pressure to buy the perfect gift for our spouse or significant-other, as compared with shopping for children, which measured at seven per cent.

And what do we fret the most about the holiday hustle and bustle? Topping the list are long lines and crowds (53 per cent); finding a parking spot or discovering the item you want is sold out or not carried (13 per cent each); and rude or unhelpful sales-staff (12 per cent).

"The stress of holiday shopping can wreak havoc on our emotional and financial well being," Katz adds. "As we dive into the holiday shopping season, our focus shifts from buying objects to buying tokens that reflect how we feel about someone. It changes our shopping behaviour from thinking pragmatically with our heads to thinking emotionally with our hearts. And that can put our expectations out of line."

According to the eBay Merry Meltdown Report, released to coincide with "Cyber Monday" (November 27), the unofficial kick-off of the peak online shopping season:

* 83 per cent of Canadians shop for holiday gifts
* 17 per cent of Canadians liken holiday shopping to visiting the dentist (26 per cent of Albertans)
* Seven per cent compare fulfilling their list to hand-to-hand combat
* On average, men were more likely than women to find holiday shopping comparable to visiting the dentist, hearing nails on a chalk board, or passing a kidney stone

Our shopping styles might also affect stress levels. The eBay Merry Meltdown Report reveals that 20 per cent of Canadians are self-admitted "Last-Minute Laggards," who wait until the last week to start their shopping. Interestingly, men are twice as likely to be Last-Minute Laggards (29 per cent) than women (14 per cent) and married people are twice as likely to get their shopping done by the beginning of December (39 per cent) compared with 17 per cent of singles.

And, if you think your spouse or anyone else on your gift list would like a garbage bag or cake mix, think again. These items topped a very long list of the lamest gifts ever received. Maybe it's not so surprising that almost half of Canadians (45 per cent) confess that they would like to send a lump of coal to someone on their naughty list this holiday season.

As the shopping season approaches with nerves running high and budgets running low, what can Canadians do to find those perfect gifts without succumbing to seasonal stress?

Rhonda Katz suggests brushing up on some tried-and-true tips like making a detailed list, shopping early and sticking to budget. She also advises stepping out of your usual shopping vernacular and joining the 56 per cent of Canadian Internet users (10.5 million Canadians) who buy online**.

"Put on your favourite carols, grab a mug of cocoa and browse your shopping list online, on sites like eBay in your pyjamas," counsels Katz. "Have fun and shop in comfort without the hassle of lines and crowds. The time and money you'll save will be cathartic. Plus, it saves time and energy for what the holidays are really about - enjoying friends and family."

Alexandra Brown, head of communications & public affairs, eBay Canada, agrees with Katz's diagnosis: "The data revealed in the eBay Merry Meltdown Report is not at all surprising - long lines, crowds and other traditional trappings of shopping during the holiday season can be exceptionally stressful. Whether you're a seasoned expert doing all your holiday shopping online, hunting for the first time for that hard to find item, or just looking to snag a great bargain, eBay is a fun way to complete all of your holiday shopping."

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The eBay Merry Meltdown Report

Holiday Haste…

* 35 per cent of Canadians are Early Birds (all shopping done by the beginning of December)
* 43 per cent are Typical Troopers (hit the stores mid December like everyone else)
* Men are twice as likely to be Last Minute Laggards (29 per cent) than women (14 per cent); married folk are twice as likely to get their shopping done by the beginning of December (39 per cent) compared to singles (17 per cent).

Seasonal Survival…

* Half of Canadians (49 per cent) agree that holiday shopping takes away from the real spirit of the season. (Atlantic folks even more so at 58 per cent)
* A quarter of Canadians (25 per cent) experience intense frustration when shopping for holiday gifts, while other feel sheer panic (seven per cent) and a racing heart (six per cent)
* More than a quarter (28 per cent) say holiday shopping is bad for their mental health
* What do Canadians hate most? Crowds and long lines (53 per cent), finding the item you want is sold out or not carried (13 per cent), finding a parking spot (13 per cent) and rude or unhelpful sales staff (12 per cent) [nine per cent other].
* 17 percent liken holiday shopping to visiting the dentist (26 per cent in Alberta!)

You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch…

* 21 per cent of Canadians say their boss/coworkers buy the worst gifts.
* We feel the most pressure to buy the perfect gift for our spouse or significant other (41 per cent) followed by parents (19 per cent).
* Canadians older than 55 are less likely than those 18-24 to feel pressured to find the perfect gift for their spouse (30 per cent versus 52 per cent).
* The more we earn, the more we worry about finding the perfect gift for our spouse (more than 100k -- 52 per cent versus less than 40k - 32 per cent).

For additional information on eBay Canada, please visit www.ebay.ca

About eBay Canada
eBay is the World's Online Marketplace(TM). Founded in 1995, eBay created a powerful platform for the sale of goods and services by a passionate community of individuals and businesses. eBay enables trade on a local, national, and international basis with customized sites in markets around the world. Through an array of services, such as its payment solution provider PayPal, eBay is enabling global e-commerce for an ever-growing online community. In Canada, eBay was visited by more than 10.8 million Canadians in September 2006. (ComScore Media Metrix, September 2006).

*eBay Merry Meltdown Report: Decima Research October 2006. This national sample of 1,000 Canadian shoppers, 18 years or older, is accurate within +/-3.1 percentage points.
** eMarketer Report. November 2006 /For further information: Tonisha Robinson or Karen Cleveland
Environics Communications
416-969-2759 or 416.969.2722
trobinson@environicspr.com or kcleveland@environicspr.com
/ IN: ENTERTAINMENT, HEALTH, RETAIL

Contact Information

  • Tonisha Robinson, Environics Communications Inc.
    Primary Phone: 416-969-2759
    Secondary Phone: 413-920-9000