Your heart pounds and your hands are sweaty. It’s not a race, but it feels like one. Will you get your gifts checked off your list in time? Will you have enough cash to cover all your purchases? Will you be paying off your credit card for the next three months?

The December holidays are a stressful time for many, and have you ever wondered how your shopping and spending habits measure up to the rest of the country? CPA Canada conducted a random phone survey of 1,004 adult Canadians and some of the results may surprise you.


Save versus splurge

The average adult planned to spend $766 on holiday gifts in 2015. That’s a huge chunk of change. About 27 percent will spend over $800, while 23 percent will spend $200 or less.

Online versus in-store

Half of respondents agreed that the option of online shopping makes holiday shopping less stressful, but most people would actually rather pick up their prezzies in a store than surf the web—so long as prices are the same. That said, if people are going to buy gifts online, they’re most likely to purchase CDs, DVDs, books, toys, games and gift cards—not items such as food, jewellery, appliances and clothing.


Sales, sales, sales

Thought Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Boxing Day were the biggest shopping days of the year? Surprisingly, only 32 percent of Canadians say they completed any of their Christmas shopping on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Slightly more—at 43 percent—plan to shop Boxing Day sales this year.


Looking ahead

About 29 percent of Canadians saved throughout the year in anticipation of holiday shopping.  Instead, 61 percent plan to pay down debt, 61 percent plan to set a spending budget and 52 percent want to save for retirement.

Where do you fit in the spectrum?

This article was originally published in the November edition of Canadian Living by Andrea Carr and can be read online here.