Canadian consumer spending remains flat for the 2nd consecutive quarter of 2014

Moneris’ Quarterly Spending Report shows Q2 consumer spending decreased by 0.32 per cent.

Canadian consumer spending remained flat for the second consecutive quarter of 2014, according to the Quarterly Spending Report released by Moneris Solutions Corporation (“Moneris”), Canada’s largest credit and debit card processor. This is the first time Moneris has reported two consecutive flat quarters since issuing the reports in 2010.

Moneris’ Quarterly Spending Report revealed that, compared to the same period last year, Q2 consumer spending decreased by 0.32 per cent. June showed the most growth, with a modest 0.17 per cent increase, while April and May experienced declines of 0.21 per cent and 0.89 per cent, respectively.

Although slight, this overall drop is disappointing. After a flat first quarter, which we attributed to this year’s harsh winter, we were hoping consumer spending would rebound in Q2. We believe the slow start to spring has to do with the continuation of trends seen in Q1.

- Angela Brown, President and CEO, Moneris Solutions

Specialty retail experienced a slight 0.75 per cent increase, while apparel decreased by 0.90 per cent. Other retail categories that showed a decline included women’s accessories (-5.03 per cent), florists (-4.73 per cent) and groceries (-4.35 per cent), while spending in home renovation stores increased by 8.42 per cent. Similar to Q1, utilities spending remained high, with an 18.69 per cent increase. The report also showed that spending on travel and transportation was favoured by Canadians, with an increase of 5.39 per cent.

Canadian sports fans reach for their wallets

Canadians’ love for sports and playoffs may have contributed to the increase in sports apparel purchases, which grew 3.50 per cent, and increase in spending at drinking establishments, which climbed 3.04 per cent. Fast food establishments also saw a 3.49 per cent boost, while dine-in restaurants did not fare as well, with a decrease of 2.90 per cent.

"Catching a game at a bar with friends has become a favourite way for Canadian sports fans to show support for their teams,” said Brown. “We saw a similar uptick in bar sales during the Winter Games in Russia, and with so many Canadian teams playing well this spring, the impact of sport on spending continues to be evident."

Credit takes a backseat to debit transactions

Moneris’ Quarterly Spending Report showed that Canadians preferred paying with their debit cards, even though both credit and debit spending decreased by 0.22 per cent and 0.39 per cent, respectively, in Q2.

Spending gains in Prince Edward Island, British Columbia and Alberta

Consumer spending was highest in Prince Edward Island, British Columbia and Alberta, with increases of 2.11 per cent, 1.08 per cent and 0.72 per cent, respectively. Ontario consumer spending was close to flat, with a 0.03 per cent decrease.

Saskatchewan, which led spending growth in Q1, was among the three lowest-spending provinces in Q2 (-2.05 per cent), equal to Manitoba, while Quebec experienced the smallest gains in Q2 (-2.21 per cent growth).

Canadian restaurants score big during FIFA World Cup 2014

While overall restaurant spending decreased in the second quarter, the restaurant category experienced big wins during the last two weeks of June. Data comparing spending during the two-hour period of World Cup games played between June 12 and June 29, to spending during the same time and day of the week prior to World Cup, showed a 12.4 per cent increase in restaurant spending across Canada.

Of all Canadian provinces, the Maritimes experienced the highest spending growth in the restaurant category between June 12 and June 29. Data comparison found a cumulative spending increase of 28.09 per cent in Newfoundland, followed closely by Nova Scotia, with a 20.92 per cent increase, during the last two weeks of June.

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.

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