Visa Canada

Visa Canada

December 19, 2007 05:00 ET

Ontarians to Spend $9.2 Billion on Gifts This Holiday Season

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 19, 2007) - According to Visa Canada's ninth annual Gift Giving Survey, conducted by Omnitel, Ontarians are no longer the biggest spenders in the country this holiday season. 8.3 million Ontario shoppers will be browsing for the perfect gifts for loved ones, spending an average of $1,102 each - slightly above the national average of $1,061 but less than shoppers in Atlantic or Western Canada. Ontarians say they will be shopping for 9.9 people - on par with the national average.

"What's interesting about Ontarians is that their spending habits during the holiday season tend not to deviate very much from the national averages," said Tania Freedman, Director of Corporate Communications, Visa Canada. "While other regions may fluctuate above or below the national average, Ontario often sets the tone for the country in terms of spending, number of gifts and holiday activities."

To Give and To Receive

Although Ontario isn't Canada's top regional spender this year, children in the province will still have plenty to celebrate this Christmas. While Canadian parents plan to spend an average of $204 per child, Ontario moms and dads will fork over slightly more at $211. Forty percent anticipate purchasing more than five gifts for their kids, which may explain why Ontario children are receiving an average of 5.4 gifts apiece - one more than the national average and more than any other region. Parents say clothes (17 percent), toys (11 percent) and electronics (10 percent) top children's "must have" lists.

Ontario romantics won't be left empty-handed on Christmas Day. Ontarians who shop for their spouse or partner expect to purchase 3.5 gifts and spend $231 total on their sweetheart - five dollars more than the national average. Twenty-nine percent of shoppers state that their spouse or partner will be the hardest to shop for, followed by parents (16 percent) and children (11 percent).

Of those who plan to spend more on gifts than they did last year, Ontarians stated that they have more people on their list (36 percent - the highest figure nationally) or they have more money to spend (20 percent). Ontarians were, by far, the most likely to report that they're spending more because they "love to give/buy nice things" (19 percent versus the national average of four percent). Among the gifts Ontarians plan to give, 82 percent said clothes - second only to the Atlantic provinces at 83 percent - and 73 percent plan to dole out gift cards and gift certificates. Forty two percent of Ontario residents plan to give cash as gifts, second only to Alberta with 43 percent.

With a Click of the Mouse...

While not many Canadians can actually claim to enjoy the mall this time of year, Ontarians seem to find malls more aggravating than most. Sixty one percent, the highest in Canada, indicated that the crowds are their least favourite thing about this season. Sixteen percent indicated that standing in line was the worst aspect of the season, second only to the Atlantic provinces. This might explain why the likelihood of shopping online is up seven points to 25 percent in Ontario. In terms of spending, Ontario's online shoppers plan to spend an average of $306, second only to BC. And what are Ontarians searching for online? Books are the big winners this year at 38 percent, second only to BC, while clothes and electronics follow at 25 and 24 percent, respectively.

'Tis the Season

While Ontarians expect to attend 4.4 holiday parties this year, slightly below the national average of 4.6, they won't spend as much as other Canadians on holiday meals and social engagements. While their neighbours in Quebec are forking over an impressive $384 on holiday entertaining, Ontarians plan to spend just $288 - only Atlantic residents expect to spend less. Clearly many Ontarians will be enjoying more than one holiday meal: three quarters of Ontario residents look forward to hosting a holiday dinner this year; 73 percent plan to break bread at a relative's home; and more than half of respondents (51 percent) will enjoy a holiday meal with friends.

Giving a Helping Hand

The survey asked whether Canadians plan to donate to charities this time of year. Ontarians certainly have an altruistic spirit: holiday shoppers plan to give food (69 percent, same as the national average), money (65 percent versus the national average of 63 percent), clothing (63 percent versus the national average of 60 percent) and time (30 percent versus the national average of 31 percent). Ontario shoppers plan to donate an average of $188 per person to charity.

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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