Every quarter, Moneris Solutions Corporation ("Moneris") puts together the Moneris Spending Report – a comprehensive snapshot of consumer spending in Canada. As a market leader, Moneris is able to provide representative market insights, which can help you make informed business decisions. The report highlights a number of key industry categories, such as apparel, specialty retail, restaurants and hotels; identifying regional patterns, with 2013 spending volumes compared to those in 2012.
The dynamics of spending growth and decline, illustrating the changes in how Canadians are spending their money, are of particular interest. If spending levels are up, that could be interpreted as a sign of the strength of the Canadian economy but, in actual fact, the opposite may also be true. If spending slows down, the underlying driver could be an overall flattening of the economy. The Q1 2013 Moneris Spending Report reflects just that.
While overall spending in Canada is up, spending volumes have steadily declined throughout the first quarter of 2013. In January, spending was up by 4.38 per cent, compared to the first quarter of 2012, whereas March only saw a 2.7 per cent increase. This could be the result of an early Easter holiday (which fell in March this year), as a result of which, many businesses were closed on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Even businesses that remained open may have experienced a sharp decline in spending compared to a regular weekend, as many Canadians opted to stay home.
So, how did your industry fare in the first quarter of 2013?
According to the report, spending was strongest in the hotel, grocery and restaurant categories, followed closely by entertainment. Fast food continued to drive spending growth in the restaurant category – a trend observed over the last few quarters, which may be the result of convenient quick pay technologies that are now available at many fast food outlets.
When it came to merchants in specialty retail category, spending volumes varied in Q1. Animal lovers led the spending growth, with pet stores and pet foods experiencing the largest increase in spending (12.15 per cent). This may mean that many Canadians may be sacrificing spending money on themselves to buy something for their pets. Sporting goods (7.96 per cent) and florists (5.20 per cent) also saw strong spending increases, whereas book stores experienced a slight decrease (-4.66 per cent), likely a result of the growing popularity of e-books or ordering books online.
For many consumers, Q1 isn’t their preferred time to purchase big-ticket items (such as electronics) as many are still recovering from their holiday spending in December. Canadians may also choose to wait until Black Friday and Boxing Day, when retailers offer highly discounted prices. This quarter, the sale of radios, televisions and stereos dropped by -1.38 per cent, compared to Q1 2012. Camera and photography retailers may also have noticed a drop in spending this past quarter (by - 4.42 per cent), along with shoe stores, health and beauty spas, cosmetic stores, and jewellery stores.
The apparel category saw a slight drop in spending (by -0.42 per cent), too, as did the household category (by -0.15 per cent), which includes furniture, lawn and garden supply stores, carpentry and landscaping. A long and cold winter may have led many Canadians to delay the purchase of these items until the spring.
Overall, the Q1 Moneris Spending Report points to many positive spending trends – great news for merchants. It will be interesting to see whether these trends continue throughout the year, and what the second quarter has in store.
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