'Tis the Season for Shopping for British Columbians — But Is this the Season for Spending?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Vancouver, BC – 'Tis the season for opening wallets for gifts, entertainment, travel, and celebrations, but will shoppers' spending change during the holiday given the current state of economy? To find out, Ipsos Reid launched a new study to examine the purchase behaviour of adult British Columbians when it comes to shopping during the 2009 holiday season.

Our survey results reveal that three-in-ten adult British Columbians have spent or will be spending less overall this holiday season compared to 2008 (30%). Half of shoppers spent or will spend the same amount (52%), and fewer spent or will spend more money on their holiday purchases versus a year ago (14%). The remaining few are unsure (4%).

The majority of those who will be cutting costs this holiday season have been tightening their purse strings in general year round. Seven-in-ten are not only spending less this holiday season, but have spent less on other general expenditures in 2009 (71%). The other three-in- ten have either spent the same amount as 2008 throughout the year (18%) or have spent more money earlier this year compared to a year ago (11%) but will cut back during the holiday.

British Columbians who are cutting back clearly indicate the economy is a prime reason for reduced spending, with 88% of shoppers who spent or will be spending less during the holiday indicating the economy has had or will have a impact on their expenditures (57% a lot of impact and 31% a little impact). Only one-in-ten feel the economy is not impacting their holiday season spending (12%).

In particular, shoppers in British Columbia will be cutting back on holiday decorations (36% spent or will spend less this holiday season compared to 2008), travel (31%), clothing (29%), and entertainment (27%).

Still, cut backs are not limited to these categories. Interestingly, shoppers even spent or will be spending less in more fundamental categories such as groceries. Two-in-ten (21%) of shoppers are shelling out fewer dollars for food and non-alcoholic beverages this holiday season.

When it comes to gifts for others, shoppers are cutting back most notably on home décor gifts (29% spent or will spend less on this product category as a gift this holiday season compared to last year), digital cameras/camcorders (27%), jewelry (26%), and computer equipment (26%).

It seems that with December just around the corner, British Columbian shoppers will be mindful of their purchasing behaviours and will shop for gifts and all other holiday items accordingly. Specifically, shoppers agree that they have done or plan to do the following this holiday season:

  • More often actively look for sales on gifts (69% with 28% strongly agree and 41% somewhat agree);
  • Begin their shopping earlier to find deals (42% with 15% strongly agree and 27% somewhat agree);
  • Check out online retailers more to find better deals (41% with 12% strongly agree and 29% somewhat agree);
  • Use more coupons for gifts (38% with 12% strongly agree and 26% somewhat agree);
  • Wait more for last minute deals (36% with 9% strongly agree and 27% somewhat agree); and,
  • Buy store brand/generic gifts more often (31% with 8% strongly agree and 23% somewhat agree).

These are the findings of an Ipsos Reid study fielded from November 5 to 12, 2009. This online survey of 703 adult British Columbians, 18 years and older, was conducted using Ipsos Reid's proprietary "Voice of the West Interactive Forum" – an online panel of more than 6,500 British Columbians who have been randomly recruited to match the overall characteristics of the adult residents of the province. Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online studies of this nature, however, an unweighted probability sample of this size, with a 100% response rate, would have an estimated margin of error of +/- 3.7 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Catherine Dawson
Senior Vice President
Ipsos Reid
(778) 373-5003

About Ipsos Reid

Ipsos Reid is Canada's market intelligence leader, the country's leading provider of public opinion research, and research partner for loyalty and forecasting and modelling insights. With operations in eight cities, Ipsos Reid employs more than 600 research professionals and support staff in Canada. The company has the biggest network of telephone call centres in the country, as well as the largest pre-recruited household and online panels. Ipsos Reid's marketing research and public affairs practices offer the premier suite of research vehicles in Canada, all of which provide clients with actionable and relevant information. Staffed with seasoned research consultants with extensive industry-specific backgrounds, Ipsos Reid offers syndicated information or custom solutions across key sectors of the Canadian economy, including consumer packaged goods, financial services, automotive, retail, and technology & telecommunications. Ipsos Reid is an Ipsos company, a leading global survey- based market research group.

To learn more, please visit www.ipsos.ca .

About Ipsos

Ipsos is a leading global survey-based market research company, owned and managed by research professionals. Ipsos helps interpret, simulate, and anticipate the needs and responses of consumers, customers, and citizens around the world.

Member companies assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media. They measure public opinion around the globe. Ipsos member companies offer expertise in advertising, customer loyalty, marketing, media, and public affairs research, as well as forecasting, modeling, and consulting. Ipsos has a full line of custom, syndicated, omnibus, panel, and online research products and services, guided by industry experts and bolstered by advanced analytics and methodologies. The company was founded in 1975 and has been publicly traded since 1999. In 2008, Ipsos generated global revenues of €979.3 million.

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'Tis the Season for Shopping for British Columbians — But Is this the Season for Spending?


Michael Rodenburgh
Executive Vice President, Canada
Ipsos Marketing