Q4 2012: Canadian consumer spending continued to grow

January 14, 2013 Moneris

Moneris Solutions Corporation (“Moneris”), Canada’s largest debit and credit card processor, announced today that Canadian spending rose by 3.45 per cent during the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to the same period in 2011. However, compared to previous quarters in 2012, Q4 showed the smallest increase in dollars spent (Q1 at 5.34 per cent, Q2 at 4.67 per cent and Q3 at 4.77 per cent).

October 2012 experienced the strongest growth, with a 4.93 per cent increase in spending, followed by November, with a 3.58 per cent increase in dollars spent. While the slowest growth in Q4 was reported in December, at 2.16 per cent, Boxing Week spending was up 5.35 per cent, compared to 2011.

The restaurant category led the growth in spending during the fourth quarter, at 5.88 per cent, followed closely by grocery stores at 5.70 per cent and entertainment at 5.25 per cent. Similar to the same period last year, fast food outlets and pet shops continued to experience the highest growth, with increases of 9.53 per cent and 7.11 per cent, respectively.

Categories that experienced a decline in spending included camera stores, at -9.03 per cent, cosmetic stores, at -3.64 per cent, and book stores, at -3.24 per cent. The average price of credit card purchases also declined by -2.13 per cent, compared to the same period in 2011, while debit purchases experienced a modest increase of 0.19 per cent.

Overall in Q4 2012, credit card spending slightly outpaced debit card spending, with an increase of 3.55 per cent and 3.29 per cent, respectively. However, this quarter also experienced the lowest increases in credit card spending, compared to the three previous quarters (5.26 per cent in Q1, 5.62 per cent in Q2 and 5.19 per cent in Q3). The same was true of debit card spending in Q4, compared to the three previous quarters (3.47 per cent in Q1, 3.31 per cent in Q2 and 4.15 per cent in Q3), which may be the result of increased awareness around climbing household debt among Canadian consumers.

Despite a slowdown in consumer spending during the fourth quarter, 2012 proved to be another profitable year for retailers across Canada. The holiday period was particularly successful for many Canadian merchants, especially on Christmas Eve and during Boxing Week. Given current trends, we anticipate growth will continue into 2013.

- Jim Baumgartner, President and CEO, Moneris Solutions


During the period of November 27 – December 17, 2012, the amount of dollars spent online jumped by 16.89 per cent, compared to the November 29 – December 19, 2011 period, with apparel leading the growth (with a 32.70 per cent increase in spending). Additionally, Canadians continued to embrace the spirit of giving to the less fortunate during this period, with an increase in charitable donations of 6.7 per cent.

Regionally, Alberta showed the strongest growth in the fourth quarter, with an increase in spending of 6.45 per cent, compared to last year, followed closely by Newfoundland, at 6.42 per cent. Saskatchewan, Quebec and Ontario experienced moderate growth, with increases in spending of 4.35 per cent, 3.2 per cent and 2.66 per cent, respectively. Prince Edward Island showed the slowest growth in the country, ending the quarter with a 1.01 per cent increase in spending.

As in previous years, many Canadians waited until the last minute to make their holiday purchases. Shoppers came out in full force on the 24th of December and Moneris processed a record 453 transactions per second between 2:20 p.m. and 2:25 p.m. EST. December 21st was the biggest Canadian shopping day in 2012 in terms of total number of purchases made.

Camera stores, travel and pet stores led the spending growth during Boxing Week, with increases in dollars spent of 23.61 per cent, 19.32 per cent and 15.42 per cent, respectively. Similar to 2011, consumer electronics purchases were down during Boxing Week in 2012 (by -14.83 per cent), which may be the result of the growing success of pre-holiday sales, like those offered on Black Friday.

For the second year in a row, shoes topped the list of the most frequently returned items between January 2 and January 7, followed by purchases made at jewellery and department stores.

About The Moneris Spending Report

The Moneris Spending Report provides a snapshot of consumer spending activity in Canada by analyzing credit and debit card transaction data. As the market leader with the largest merchant base, Moneris presents detailed analysis and insight on a quarterly basis. The percentages cited are derived from actual sales volumes – the dollar values of credit and debit card transactions being processed by Moneris merchants.

About the Author

Moneris

Moneris processes more than 3 billion credit and debit card transactions a year, for over 350,000 merchant locations across North America. We have over 1,300 dedicated employees who understand transaction processing and know how to make it work for you.

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