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2013 BMO Holiday Spending Outlook: Consumers Plan to Spend $1,810, Up 30 per cent From Two Years Ago

- Spending Spirit: Canadians' spending projected to climb for the third consecutive year

- Taking Flight: Largest spend and increase accounted for by holiday travel plans

- A Rewarding Spend: Rewards spending increases by 32 per cent from 2012

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Nov. 6, 2013) - Holiday spending is projected to continue its climb for a third straight year, according to the 2013 BMO Holiday Spending Outlook.

According to the report released today, Canadians expect to spend an average of $1,810 this holiday season - up from $1,610 (12 per cent) in 2012 and $1,397 (30 per cent) in 2011. The biggest uptick in spending is attributed to travel, which has increased by 22 per cent compared to a year ago, and nearly doubled since 2011.

Holiday Spending Allocation - Year-over-Year Comparison

Purchases 2013 2012 2011
Gifts $678 $674 $583
Trips $689 $563 $360
Entertaining $282 $267 $307
Other $161 $106 $147

2013 Holiday Spending Across the Country

Gifts $759 $433 $873 $635 $708 $520
Trips $581 $379 $838 $539 $849 $816
Entertaining $391 $197 $342 $223 $280 $237
Other $128 $80 $275 $84 $102 $87


  • November marks the start of holiday shopping season for four-in-ten (41 per cent) Canadians, with one-in-three (33 per cent) starting earlier, and one-in-four (23 per cent) waiting until December
  • Women are twice as likely as men to start their shopping before November (42 per cent vs. 23 per cent), with men more likely to wait until December (28 per cent vs. 18 per cent)
  • The report also showed a 7-point increase in the number who plan to set a fixed budget this year (from 29 per cent to 36 per cent)
  • However, the majority of Canadians (57 per cent) admit they often make impulsive purchases during the holiday season.

Su McVey, Vice President, BMO Bank of Montreal, noted that over-spending or making unplanned purchases during the holidays may result in other financial goals or priorities being thrown off track in the New Year and beyond. "The survey data shows that those who make impulsive purchases during the holidays are more likely to have regrets after the fact. Building a firm holiday budget and taking advantage of easy to use online tools can help keep spending in check and ensure other financial commitments can continue to be met."

For example, Ms. McVey noted that BMO offers BMO MoneyLogic, a free, online personal financial management tool designed to track everyday spending and savings.

Reward Spending Climbs

  • The use of rewards for holiday shopping is up by 32 per cent in 2013 (22 per cent to 29 per cent)
  • An additional 14 per cent will be paying for their holiday vacation using rewards
  • Of those who do not plan on using rewards to pay for holiday travel, 11 per cent say that it is because their rewards program does not offer flights on their airline of choice, or that it doesn't allow them to book during the holiday season.

"Using reward points to pay for or offset travel expenses can significantly increase your spending power, however, not all programs or cards are created equal," said Nick Mastromarco, Managing Director, Credit Card Products, BMO Bank of Montreal. "Given the amount of activity in the marketplace right now when it comes to the various reward incentives being offered, doing your homework can help determine which product will offer the most flexibility when it comes to travel and other benefits."

For example, BMO World Elite MasterCard customers can redeem points to cover all flight charges on any airline with no blackout period or seat restrictions. Mr. Mastromarco added that BMO World Elite MasterCard customers also enjoy the best travel redemption rate. Visit for more information.

The survey results cited in the 2013 BMO Holiday Spending Outlook conducted by Pollara are compiled from a random sample of 1,215 Canadians 18 years of age and over between October 11 and October 16, 2013. A probability sample of this size would yield results accurate to ± 2.8 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly-diversified North American financial services organization. With total assets of $549 billion as at July 31, 2013, and more than 46,000 employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions.

For further information:
Media Contacts:
Matthew Duffin, Toronto
(416) 867-3996

Valerie Doucet, Montreal
(514) 877-8224

Laurie Grant, Vancouver
(604) 665-7596

Twitter: @BMOmedia