A new survey shows many Canadians will be heading south this holiday season, beginning with Black Friday, the day following American Thanksgiving, which traditionally marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season.
According to a survey released by BMO Bank of Montreal, 18 per cent of Canadians plan to shop in the United States this holiday season, up five per cent from last year (13 per cent). BMO’s Holiday Spending Survey also found that Canadians are planning to spend almost $1,397 each this year on holiday shopping, travel and entertaining.
“With the ongoing strength of the Canadian dollar, a still significant – although narrowing – gap between Canadian and U.S. retail prices and proximity to U.S. cities and shops, it isn’t surprising to see more Canadians planning to head south of the border to shop this holiday season,” said Doug Porter, deputy chief economist, BMO Capital Markets.
“Nonetheless, BMO forecasts that Canadian holiday retail sales receipts, excluding auto and gasoline sales, should increase between 2 and 3 per cent, year-over-year, in November/December.”
Regional break down of cross-border shopping plans
— Canadians in British Columbia, Ontario and the Atlantic provinces are the most likely to cross-border shop (24-25 per cent).
— Quebecers are the least likely to cross-border shop (six per cent).– 13-14 per cent of Canadians in the Prairies and Alberta say they will shop in the U.S.
— Women are slightly more likely than men to shop cross border (19 per cent vs. 17 per cent).
“A search for savings remains a strong influence behind Canadians’ choice of shopping venues. If they regularly shop or travel in the U.S., Canadians can extend their savings even further by using a U.S.-dollar credit card south of the border,” said Jennifer Weisman, head of credit card marketing, BMO Bank of Montreal.
A U.S.-dollar denominated credit card provides the same features, convenience, security and acceptance as a Canadian dollar credit card, with the added benefit that savings won’t be lost to fluctuating currency exchange and other transaction fees. And by using funds in a U.S.-dollar savings or chequing account to pay off the credit card balance, Canadian cross-border shoppers can avoid currency exchange fees altogether.
“With a U.S.-dollar credit card, shoppers can still enjoy the usual benefits of credit over cash, including purchase protection, extended warranty on all purchases, and the convenience and security of not having to carry large amounts of cash,” said Weisman.
“BMO’s U.S. Dollar MasterCard provides the best value in the marketplace and, if a cardholder spends $1,000 or more during the year, BMO will waive the annual credit card fee for the following year,” she added.
BMO’s Holiday Spending Survey was completed online from October 17-20, 2011 using Leger Marketing’s online panel, LegerWeb with a sample of 1508 Canadians. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/-2.5 per cent 19 times out of 20.