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Younger Canadian shoppers plan to load up on gifts but not debt this holiday season: RBC Poll


  • Over half (59 per cent) of 18 to 34 year olds intend to use cash, debit cards
  • Majority (70 per cent) will shop in-store, 25 per cent online


TORONTO, November 27, 2014 -  While younger Canadian shoppers (aged 18 to 34) intend to give more gifts to others this holiday season and spend more doing so, there’s one present they have in mind for themselves: a debt-free start to the New Year.

According to the annual RBC Holiday Spending Intentions Poll, 94 per cent of this younger age group will be gift-giving this year, compared to 82 per cent in 2013, and are expecting to spend an average of $509.80 on those gifts, up from $457.40 last year. What these holiday shoppers don't intend to increase are gift-related debts: over half (59 per cent) plan to use cash or debit cards, while 18 per cent intend to use credit cards and pay off their balances.

“It’s great to see these younger shoppers focused on managing their holiday expenses so they don’t have seasonal debts when the New Year begins – this is a wonderful gift to give to yourself,” noted Maria Contreras, Senior Manager, Savings Accounts, RBC Royal Bank. “The temptation is always there to buy just one more thing or spend just a bit more money; setting a spending limit and sticking to it can help ensure your holiday celebrations don’t come with an oversized price tag attached.”

Contreras also shared four financial tips for the holidays:

  1. Have a budget in mind before you start checking off your holiday gift list. This will help ensure you’re only spending what you know you can afford.
  2. Curb your “gotta have it” shopping impulses. Count to 30 before impulse buying in a store; delay an online shopping decision by a few hours.
  3. Keep a separate savings account for holiday/gift expenses. By setting up an account dedicated to saving for special expenses, your savings won't get mixed in with your day-to-day cash.
  4. Put aside a regular amount into your holiday expenses savings account. By saving $10 a week, for example, you’ll have over $500 by year-end; invest that money in a high interest savings account and you can save even more for your next holiday season.

The annual survey also found that a majority (70 per cent) of younger shoppers plan to do their gift-buying in person, with only 25 per cent opting to make their purchases over the Internet. By comparison, 79 per cent of all survey respondents stated they will be shopping in-store, with only 17 per cent going online to buy their holiday gifts.

Other findings from the RBC 2014 Holiday Spending Intentions Poll:

  • 67 per cent of Canadian shoppers don’t have a budget that includes saving for holidays/gift expenses
  • Quebec shoppers intend to spend the least on gifts this holiday season ($360.30); those in Atlantic Canada and Alberta intend to spend the most ($700.90 and $699.70 respectively); the national average is expected to be $589.60.
  • In Atlantic Canada and Ontario, shoppers are most likely (33 per cent and 28 per cent respectively) to use cash for their gift purchases (27 per cent nationally).
  • Shoppers in Saskatchewan and Manitoba are the most likely (32 per cent) to use debit cards for their gift buying (24 per cent nationally)
  • In B.C. and Alberta, shoppers are most likely (tied at 36 per cent) to use credit cards for their gift purchases and then pay off the balance on their next credit card statements (30 per cent nationally).
About RBC savings and other financial advice and interactive tools
Canadians can access for free savings advice and resources. In addition, all personal RBC online banking clients can use myFinanceTracker, a no-cost interactive financial management tool, to create and track their budget, savings goals and spending habits. Whether Canadians want to get more from their day-to-day banking, protect what's important, save and invest, borrow with confidence or take care of their businesses, the RBC Advice Centre can help answer their questions. Interactive tools and calculators provide customized information covering many facets of personal finance at

About the RBC 2014 Holiday Spending Intentions Poll
The survey was conducted online via Ipsos Reid's national I-Say Consumer Panel to 2,006 Canadian gift-givers. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. Data collection was between October 17 and 21, 2014. The precision of Ipsos Reid polls are calculated using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is considered accurate within +/- 2.5 percentage points 19 times out of 20, of what the results would have been had all gift-givers in Canada been polled.

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For more information, please contact:
Kathy Bevan, RBC Communications, 416 974-8820