BMO Bank of Montreal

BMO Bank of Montreal
BMO Financial Group

BMO Financial Group

November 22, 2011 09:17 ET

REPEAT-BMO 2011 Holiday Spending Outlook: More on the Table, Less Under the Tree This Holiday Season

- Canadians expect to spend $1397 this holiday season

- Gift giving spend decreases while holiday entertaining spending accounts for the biggest year-over-year increase - up by more than $100

- Albertans set to spend the most on average on gifts

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 22, 2011) - According to the BMO 2011 Holiday Spending Outlook, global economic uncertainty doesn't seem to be putting a damper on Canadians' holiday spending plans. In fact, on average, Canadians expect to spend $1397 during this holiday season – up from $1305 in 2010.

The survey, conducted by Leger Marketing, revealed Canadians plan to spend an average of $582.70 on gift purchases, $359.80 on trips, $307.30 on holiday entertaining and $147.50 on other expenses.

Holiday Spending Allocation – Year over Year Comparison

Purchases 2010 2011
Gift Purchases $613.50 $582.70
Trips $356.50 $359.80
Entertaining $203.80 $307.30
Other $131.80 $147.50

Holiday Spending Across the Country

2011 Avg. Spend (Total) ATL QC ON MB/SK AB BC
Gift Purchases $582.70 $715.20 $483.30 $616.10 $443.30 $731.30 $573.40
Trips $359.80 $312.70 $403.50 $342.20 $198.10 $374.40 $423.30
Entertaining $307.30 $276.40 $321.40 $291.90 $273.60 $376.10 $303.60
Other $147.50 $115.00 $113.90 $171.60 $117.80 $117.00 $197.50

"Given the current challenges when it comes to managing the household balance sheet, it's important that Canadians put a budget in place and track their holiday spending to avoid over-extending – which can happen pretty quickly this time of year," says Su McVey, Vice President, BMO Bank of Montreal. "Online banking features, including tools such as BMO MoneyLogic™, allow Canadians to set spending limits and get immediate insights into whether or not they are staying on track."

The results come on the heels of a holiday retail sales forecast release by BMO Economics that predicts retail sales receipts, excluding auto and gasoline sales, should increase by about 2.5 per cent year-over-year in November/December. "Although slower than last holiday season's increase of 3.1 per cent, that's better than the downturn-affected years of 2009 and 2008," noted Sal Guatieri, Senior Economist, BMO Capital Markets.

Ms. McVey added that to encourage BMO customers to stay on top of their holiday spending, BMO has launched a BMO MoneyLogic Holiday Giveway that helps customers set their holiday budget with BMO MoneyLogic. Fifty customers who set up their budget and track their holiday spending will win $1,000 so that they can start the new year with a little extra cash in their pockets.

To help shoppers make sense of their money, avoid overspending and save more this holiday season, BMO Bank of Montreal offers the following tips:

  • Set a Budget and Stick to It – Build your budget as early as possible and revisit it often to lessen the impact of the holiday spending surge. Using online tools, such as BMO MoneyLogic, to set and track spending limits can help keep you on track.

  • Get a Head Start – According to the survey, while the majority of Canadians plan weeks or even months ahead for their holiday shopping (81 per cent), one in 10 consider themselves last-minute shoppers. By waiting until the last minute to get your holiday shopping finished, you risk over-spending, going over budget and sometimes missing out on the gifts at the top of your list.

  • Spend Smart – Get the most out of your purchases this holiday season by using a credit or debit card that offers rewards for purchases at multiple retail locations. Combine this with programs such as the AIR MILES® Reward Program to accelerate your rewards earnings by allowing you to double dip, essentially earning rewards twice on the same purchase.

The survey was completed on-line from October 17, 2011 to October 20, 2011 using Leger Marketing's online panel, LegerWeb, with a sample of 1508 Canadians. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/-2.5 per cent 19 times out of 20.

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