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Canadian Consumer Spending Up 5.8 per cent in Q4The Moneris Spending Report Reveals That Restaurant, Grocery and Apparel Categories Led the Growth in the Last Three Months of 2011 (January 12, 2012)
TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 01/12/12 -- Moneris Solutions??, Canada's largest debit and credit card processor, announced today that Canadian spending continued to rise at the end of the year, with an increase of 5.8 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2011, compared to the same period in 2010. This represents a slightly higher rate of growth in relation to the third quarter increase of 4.9 per cent.
November showed the strongest growth, with a 6.2 per cent increase in spending, while December also proved to be successful, with an increase of 5.6 per cent. Part of the growth in December, especially during Boxing Week, was fuelled by an increase in credit card usage. In December, credit card spending was up 7.1 per cent, while debit card spending grew by 4.4 per cent. October saw the lowest-yet still respectable-growth, with a 5.4 per cent increase in dollars spent.
Overall in Q4, the leading category in spending was restaurants at 10.6 per cent, followed by grocery stores at 5.6 per cent and apparel at 4.8 per cent. In particular, fast food outlets and pet shops experienced the highest growth with increases of 16.5 per cent and 13.8 per cent, respectively.
Canadians also embraced the spirit of giving to those less fortunate during the last quarter, increasing their donations to charitable organizations by 13.1 per cent, compared to 2010. In addition, there was a 33.6 per cent increase in donations in the final week of December, as the deadline for charitable tax credits approached.
Categories that experienced a decline in spending included travel at -11.4 per cent, camera stores at -6.6 per cent and department stores at -3.9 per cent. The average price of credit card purchases also declined by -0.8 per cent compared to the same period in 2010, while those purchased through debit increased ever so slightly, by 0.2 per cent.
The fourth quarter also saw the dollars spent online increase by 14.2 per cent compared to 2010. This can be attributed in part to the success of Cyber Monday in 2011, as November posted the greatest increase in online spending at 20.1 per cent.
Regionally, the Prairie provinces led the way in growth in Canada during Q4, with an increase in spending of 10.8 per cent in Alberta and 10.1 per cent in Saskatchewan. Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia experienced moderate growth at 4.8 per cent, 4.6 per cent and 4.3 per cent respectively, while Nova Scotia showed the slowest growth in the country, ending the quarter with a 3.9 per cent increase in spending.
In terms of holiday spending, weekday purchases in December (5.4 per cent) outgrew weekend purchases (3.9 per cent), as shoppers preferred to avoid the weekend rush. Retailers also encouraged this trend by offering extended Monday to Friday shopping hours. When it came to the highest amount of both dollars spent and the number of transactions processed, December 23 was the busiest shopping day of 2011. The number of transactions per second reached its peak on this day between 1:45 and 4:30 p.m. EST, totalling 445, breaking last year's record of 418 per second on Christmas Eve.
The Moneris Spending Report also reveals an increase of 7.9 per cent in overall spending during Boxing Week, led by sales in men's clothing (25.2 per cent), stationary (13.3 per cent), cosmetics (12.4 per cent) and apparel (8 per cent). Contrary to what might have been expected, the sale of consumer electronics was down -7 per cent during this period. This may be in response to the large number of pre-holiday sales, including Black Friday and early Boxing Day sales.
Shoes, consumer electronics and sporting goods topped the list of the most frequently returned items by Canadian shoppers.
"Despite the perceived volatile economy, 2011 was another great year for Canadian retailers overall," said Jim Baumgartner, President and CEO, Moneris Solutions. "We are confident that this trend will continue into 2012."
About The Moneris Spending Report
The Moneris Spending Report provides a snapshot of consumer spending activity in Canada by analyzing credit and debit card transaction data. As the market leader with the largest merchant base, Moneris presents detailed analysis and insight on a quarterly basis. The percentages cited are derived from actual sales volumes - the dollar values of credit and debit card transactions being processed by merchants.
About Moneris Solutions
As one of North America's largest providers of payment processing solutions, Moneris offers credit, debit, wireless and online payment services for merchants in virtually every industry segment and processes more than three billion transactions annually. Through its Ernex division, Moneris offers electronic loyalty and stored-value gift card programs. With more than 350,000 merchant locations, Moneris provides the hardware, software and systems needed to improve business efficiency and manage payments. For more information please visit www.moneris.com.
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