While Canadians are expecting totrim their gift-giving lists and spend less this Christmas, recent data show that holiday spending is in fact on the rise, according to two separate surveys released Tuesday.
Scotiabank's annual holiday spending survey found that Canadians expected to spend an average of $822 this Christmas, a drop from the projected average of $900 last year.
Aron Gampel, Scotiabank's deputy chief economist, said that a slowing economy in Central Canada has prompted many Canadians to tighten their budgets.
In addition, Gampel suggested that unusually warm temperatures in certain areas of the country have dampened winter holiday spirits, prompting many consumers to delay their Christmas shopping.
Still, the study said many Canadians are in a position to indulge over the holidays for a host of reasons.
"For the most part, Canadians remain confident consumers, with continuing employment gains, rising incomes, buoyant housing markets, stable borrowing costs, lower gasoline prices at the pumps, and increasing discounts by retailers providing a favourable backdrop for spending," Gampel said in a release.
In a separate study, credit and debit card transaction processor Moneris said that holiday spending from Nov. 13 through Dec. 10 had increased by seven per cent over last year. The figures do not include cash transactions.
According to Moneris's data, card spending increased by 14 per cent at furniture stores, 13 per cent at confectionaries, 12 per cent at jewelry stores andnine per cent at drug stores and pharmacies.
Brian Green, Moneris's senior vice-president, predicted that a rush of last-minute shoppers will crowd the malls this coming weekend.
"It's a 'perfect storm' for retailers this year as December 23rd and the last Saturday before Christmas happen to fall on the same day," said Green.
"Moneris's payment network will process nearly nine million card transactions on the 23rd, peaking at 2 p.m. EST, where we will be processing more than 14,000 transactions per minute."