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Holiday shopping budgets up 26 per cent for Canadians this year: CIBC poll

Canadians expect to spend an average of $652 but impulse purchases by majority could lead to overspending for many

TORONTO, Dec. 1, 2015 /CNW/ - As the holiday season approaches, Canadians say they plan to spend an average of $652 on holiday shopping this year according to the latest poll by CIBC (TSX:CM) (NYSE: CM). That's a significant 26 per cent increase from last year when a similar CIBC poll found that Canadians had planned to spend $517 on average.

While the majority of Canadians (94 per cent) have a budget for their gift giving, more than half (55 per cent) admitted their holiday budgets aren't set in stone and because they tend to favour convenience over price, they might buy on impulse.

"It's easy for expenses to creep higher at this time of year, adding to the stress of the season but what people actually want to do is enjoy the holidays and not worry about money," says Veni Iozzo, Senior Vice President, Deposits and Client Solutions, CIBC. "Whether your holiday shopping list is long or short, having a realistic budget with a small buffer for contingencies can reduce some of the worry and let you enjoy the holidays."

Key findings of the poll include:

  • $652 is the average amount Canadians say they will spend on holiday shopping in 2015
  • How Canadians describe their approach to holiday shopping:
    • Disciplined - 39 per cent say they set a spending limit and stay within it
    • Mindful - 55 per cent have budgets that are not set in stone, see convenience as a priority over price, and might buy on impulse
    • Carefree - 6 per cent don't bother with holiday budgets and are often still paying for those expensive silver bells long after the snow has melted
  • 22 per cent acknowledge they spent more than they planned to last year

The poll also found that the older you are the more you're likely to spend:

  • Canadians 55 years and older have the highest average holiday shopping budgets at $758; those aged 35-54 years averaged $706 while 18-34-year-olds' budgets were significantly lower at $464
  • 18-34-year-olds were more likely to blame dining out in restaurants, travel and activities like skiing as costs that push them over their budget compared to older age groups who said entertaining family and friends was the main culprit

"Sometimes it's not the gift-buying that derails our budgets, often it's the stuff that we don't factor in such as new decorations or having extra food, drinks or gifts on hand in case the neighbours drop by," Ms. Iozzo says. "Having a list and checking it twice is good practice to help keep your budget in check and offset your holiday hangover when January arrives."

Canadians say they are avoiding holiday-related debt

Looking back on their holiday spending last year, the poll found that just 22 per cent of Canadians spent more than they had planned. The poll also found that many Canadians are trying to manage their holiday-related spending:

  • 58 per cent say they pay as they go
  • 32 per cent say they pay for everything when their bills come in January
  • Only 9 per cent say it will take them a few months to pay off their holiday debt

"Paying as you go or paying off credit card balances as they come due are both good practices but one of the best ways to stay jolly throughout the season is to keep your spending within your means," Ms. Iozzo says. "Avoid dipping deeper into your savings than you're comfortable - you don't want to still be feeling the financial effects of the holidays long after they are over."


Average amount much Canadians say they plan to spend on holiday shopping this year, by age:

18-34 years $464
35-54 years $706
55 years and older      $758


Average amount Canadians say they plan to spend on holiday shopping this year, by region:

All Canadians $652
British Columbia $557
Alberta $649
Manitoba/Saskatchewan $709
Ontario $759
Quebec $450
Atlantic Canada $867


How Canadians say they approach their holiday budget:

Disciplined - You set a budget limit and do what it takes to stay within it. You might shop all year, make a list and check it twice. You avoid paying full price for anything, use loyalty rewards and look high and low for the best deals. You don't worry about blowing your holiday budget because you shop for the season with a plan. 39%
Mindful - You have a holiday shopping budget in mind but it's not set in stone. Convenience is often a priority over price and you might make a few impulsive purchases but you don't mind in the moment. When January hits, you cringe a little when you check your bank account balance and make a New Year's resolution to do better next year. 55%
Carefree - What budget? Your main goal is to ensure the season of giving is a success but your holiday hangover lasts well into the New Year. Your generosity and relaxed attitude toward budgeting mean you might still be paying for those expensive silver bells when the snow melts. 6%


What puts Canadians over budget during the holidays, aside from buying gifts:

55 years
and older
Entertaining family and friends (food & alcohol) 54% 49% 55% 56%
Dining out 32% 46% 27% 24%
Activities (skiing, skating, movies) 19% 34% 19% 4%
Holiday decorations 15% 19% 17% 10%
The perfect outfits for the holiday season 10% 16% 8% 7%
Travel 14% 20% 14% 10%
Other 16% 12% 14% 21%


When Canadians say they will have paid off their holiday spending:

Immediately - I pay as I go 58%
January - I pay everything once the bills come in 32%
It will take me a few months 9%


How Canadians feel about the amount spent on last year's holiday shopping:

Spent too much - more than planned 22%
Spent just the right amount - stayed on budget 71%
Didn't shop enough - would have done more if I could 7%


From November 16-17, 2015, an online survey was conducted among 1,503 randomly selected Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error - which measures sampling variability - is +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

About CIBC

CIBC is a leading Canadian-based global financial institution with 11 million personal banking and business clients. Through our three major business units - Retail and Business Banking, Wealth Management and Capital Markets - CIBC offers a full range of products and services through its comprehensive electronic banking network, banking centres and offices across Canada with offices in the United States and around the world. You can find other news releases and information about CIBC in our Media Centre on our corporate website at

SOURCE Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

For further information:

Olga Petrycki, Director, External Communications, 416-306-9760 or