Consumer Spending in Canada: Insightful Statistics & Facts
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the amount and structure of consumer expenditures have shifted dramatically everywhere. Of course, consumer spending patterns in Canada followed global influences.
So how has the pandemic affected Canadian spending, and what can we expect from this country’s consumers in the future? Read on to find out.
Quick Canada Spending Facts for 2023 - Editor's Choice
Some of the most curious consumer facts in Canada for 2023 are:
- In May 2022, Canadians had the highest annual inflation (7.7%) since 1983.
- The consumer price index (CPI) increased by 7.6% in July from the same month in 2021.
- The gasoline price rose by 35.6% from July 2021 to July 2022.
- Food prices rose 9.9% in July, leading to higher spending on groceries.
- Travellers spent over 47.7% more on travel accommodation in July 2022 compared to the same month in 2021.
- Canadians paid 15.8% higher prices for furniture in May 2022 than in the same month of 2021 because of the introduction of tariffs for imported furnishings from some Asian countries.
- Spending trends in Canada show that restaurant prices increased 7.3% in July 2022 compared to the same month in 2021.
- Alberta’s electricity prices decreased in July, lowering by 18%.
General Canada Spending Patterns
Below, you can find some recent consumer spending statistics for Canada. The country will likely increase its gross domestic product (GDP) price index by the end of 2022 due to the overall price increase. It’s questionable how this will affect Canada’s debt-to-GDP ratio, which reached its all-time high in 2021.
Canadian consumer credit has increased to $712,376 million in May 2021.
Consumer credit experienced a significant rise over the course of a single month in 2022, increasing from $705,417 million in April to $712,376 million in May. Consumer credit statistics in Canada show that credit debt was at exactly $700,000 million in January 2022, at the tail end of a decreasing trend. However, since then, consumer credit has been on a steady rise.
Alberta leads in non-mortgage debt among Canadian provinces with $25,000 per person on average.
A recent economic analysis found that the residents of Alberta rely on credit cards more than the inhabitants of other Canadian provinces. The Albertans’ pent-up demand for non-mortgage loans in Q1 2022 increased the average consumer debt to over $25,000.
Personal savings in Canada grew to 8.1% per household since Q4 2021.
Despite higher prices and personal consumption expenditures related to credit cards, Canadian consumer trends indicate that the Canadians' savings also grew. Those increased from 6.4% per household in the last quarter of 2021 to 8.1% in Q1 of 2022, on average.
Salaries for the Canadian workforce increased 3.4% in 2022.
(Human Resources Director)
In 2022, the average salary increase jumped from 2.9% (predicted in 2021) to 3.4%. This trend is present in all Canadian provinces, indicating that inflation is driving paycheck increases, although not at a sufficiently high rate to match current prices. The salary rise in Quebec is at 3.5%, Ontario at 3.4%, British Columbia at 3.3%, and Alberta at 3.2%.
Inflation grew 7.6% during 2022 in Canada.
Due to supply and customer demand challenges, and despite the efforts of the federal reserve bank, inflation amounted to 7.6% in July 2022. To understand how it affects consumer spending, Statistics Canada conducted consumer expenditure surveys.
These found that rising prices are affecting the ability of nearly three-quarters of Canadians to meet their everyday expenses. Thus, many people are changing their spending habits or delaying significant purchases like homes or vehicles to meet daily needs related to transportation, clothing, food, etc.
Spending grew by $10,000 million in Q1 of 2022 compared to Q4 of 2021 in Canada.
Due to price changes as a result of inflation, Canadian residents spent around $10,000 million more in Q1 of 2022 than in Q4 of 2021.
Consumer spending grew from $1,195,185 million in the fourth quarter of the last year to $1,205,133 million in the first of 2022.
Canadian Grocery Expenses Statistics
Food spending statistics in Canada show that Canadians paid 9.8% more for food in July 2022 than in the same month in 2021. This concerning growth relates to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, among other factors. Besides groceries, which were the most affected, the state of the world also influenced the price of other goods and services.
Prices rose over 10% for most foods in Q2 2022 in Canada.
The consumer spending growth percentage for some types of food in the second quarter of 2022 is the following:
- Non-alcoholic beverages: 9.5%
- Sugar and confectionery: 9.7%
- Preserved fruit and fruit: 10.4%
- Eggs: 15.8%
- Fresh fruit: 11.7%
- Coffee and tea: 13.8%
Canadian families spent nearly $1,000 a month on food in 2021.
(Dalhousie University, Statistics Canada)
If you’re wondering how much money an average Canadian family spends on groceries, 2021 data states that they spent around $940 a month on these nondurable goods. The number grew to $1,055 per month if non-alcoholic beverages were included.
Personal spending in Canadian restaurants grew to $5,38 billion in Q1 of 2022.
Since the sharp decline in April 2020 due to the pandemic, Canadians have slowly returned to public eateries. Despite seasonal variations, the Canadian restaurant spending trend shows recovery since it increased from $2.42 billion in Q2 2020 to $5.38 billion in Q1 2022.
The spending in January 2022 almost reached pre-pandemic levels from January 2019 ($5.53 billion).
Canada Debt Statistics for 2023
Residents of Canada owe more in 2022 than in previous years for mortgage and non-mortgage debts. So, let's review the principal Canada consumer debt facts.
Mortgage debt payments amounted to over $110 billion in Q1 of 2022 in Canada.
The total estimated mortgage debt from loans Canadians took out surpassed $110 billion in Q1 2022. In Q4 2021, the estimated sum was just over $108 billion.
According to Statistics Canada, mortgage interest rates remained stable year-over-year, from 3.36% in Q1 2021, to 3.20% in Q1 2022.
Canadian non-mortgage debts rose to $102 billion in Q1 of 2022.
Non-mortgage debts rose from around $99.9 billion in Q1 2021 to almost $102 billion in Q1 2022. The interest paid for those debts increased by $1 billion during the year, from $40,928 million in Q1 2021 to $41,924 million in Q1 2022.
Canadian Healthcare Spending Data
Canada’s government-facilitated transfer of funds to the healthcare sector was increasing steadily before the pandemic. Of course, this transfer increased significantly once COVID-19 struck, as expected, and forecasts indicate this acceleration is here to stay. Let's see what Canada's healthcare spending statistics predict in the following table.
Healthcare investments rose to $45,048 billion for 2022/23 in Canada.
(Government of Canada)
Health Transfer Statistics and Forecasts (in billions of dollars)
As we can see, the health transfer to provinces and territories is growing at a rate of 4.8% from 2021/22 to 2022/23. And the table data indicates that this growth will continue to rise faster in the following years.
Canadian Travelling Expenses
While Canadians travelled more in Q4 2021 than in the same period the year before, they still have to catch up with the number of trips taken in Q4 2019. Let's compare the Canadian vacation spending statistics from the previous years.
Canadians made 53.9 million trips in Q4 2021.
Following the last quarter of 2020, when Canadians made around 34 million trips nationwide or abroad, Canadian travel is clearly recovering. However, although more people travelled during the last quarter of 2021, these numbers still only amount to three-quarters of trips made during Q4 2019.
Furthermore, COVID-19 consumer stats in Canada show that personal consumption expenditures for travel also dropped compared to pre-COVID times. Although Canadians took longer trips in Q4 2021 than in the same period in 2019, the tourism industry earned 5.7% less.
The decline was more severe in international travel, as Canadians spent around 60.5% less on goods and services abroad, and took fewer trips outside Canada’s borders.
Household Consumer Expenditure
Based on the last examination of household expenditures from 2019, the average expenses for running a household throughout the year were $93,724, a substantial rise compared to 2017 ($86,479).
Canadians paid 9.7% more for accommodation in July 2022 than one year before.
This growth reflects the continued rise of housing prices, as people paid $18,335 million in rent in Q1 2021, and $19,598 million in Q1 2022. Some other significant expenses in household spending in Canada in Q1 2022 were:
- Food costs: $30,300 million ($30,305 million in Q1 2021)
- Clothes: $9,487 million ($7,690 million in Q1 2021)
- Gas: $2,459 million ($1,916 million in Q1 2022)
The unemployment rate in July 2022 remained unchanged, equaling the historic low of 4.9% in June. However, the employment structure changed somewhat, so let's make a quick overview of that.
Canadian long-term unemployment dropped by 12.2% in July 2022.
- Women aged 55 and older suffered a loss of 33,000 jobs, while men from the same age group landed around 32,000 positions.
- The public sector experienced a workforce outflow of 51,000, compensated by an influx of self-employed people by 34,000; the private sector's employment structure changed negligibly.
- Long-term unemployment declined for the third consecutive month in July 2022 by 12.2%, dropping by 23,000 people to 162,000.
- Labour statistics also show that Canadian employees worked fewer hours by about 0.5% in July 2022; average hourly wages, on the other hand, rose by 5.2% year-over-year, equaling $31.14 per hour.
Expectations of Canadian Consumers for the Future
Now, let's briefly overview the main Canadian customers' expectations and concerns for the future of their finances.
83% of Canadians expect higher inflation for food in the future.
(TD Economics, Ipsos)
83% of Canadian citizens have concerning expectations over the impact of inflation on their grocery budgets. The expected rise in food, rent, and gas prices is among their primary concerns.
Findings suggest that various groups within Canadian society have different financial priorities and concerns. Lower-income individuals and older people tend to be more worried about the costs of groceries and rent.
Meanwhile, younger people are generally more concerned about house prices, which makes sense, as millennials can expect to pay a third more for their homes than older generations.
46% of Canadians are confident the Bank of Canada will lower inflation to 2% in the following period.
(TD Economics, BNN Bloomberg)
46% of Canadians believe that the federal bank can reduce inflation and, thus, minimize its impact on goods and services. On the flip side, 41% of Canadians don’t believe the BoC will manage to return inflation to 2%.
The Spending of the Average Canadian
If you’re wondering how much money an average Canadian spends a year, the answer depends on various variables, so let's see what they are:
A typical Canadian spends tens of thousands of dollars per year.
Research estimates that the average monthly costs of a single person on goods and services are $3,428. On the other hand, a family of four spends $6,217 per month, coming down to $1,554 per person, which is over 50% less than what a single Canadian needs to make it through the month.
So the math shows that the annual expenditures are:
- $41,136 for a single person
- $18,651 for a family member (out of four)
Canada ranks 21st among the world’s most expensive countries.
Considering the official consumer spending stats in Canada, the country is the 21st most expensive out of the 139 countries ranked based on their cost of living.
To conclude, spending in Canada is currently impacted by factors like inflation, the war in Ukraine, the COVID-19 pandemic, and wage growth. Canadians are not confident in the Bank of Canada’s capacity to reduce inflation, or in the certainty of wage growth and credit access.
Canadian consumer spending facts indicate that people are more and more concerned about the skyrocketing cost of essential goods and inadequate pay raises following inflation. As a result, the country ranks among the most expensive countries in the world for a living.
What is an example of consumer spending?
Consumer spending falls into three categories – durable goods, nondurable goods and services. Some examples of durable goods are computers and cell phones, nondurables are groceries and fuel, while a few services are medical care and travel.
Is consumer spending down in Canada?
Spending in Canada has been on a worrying rise in recent months, as inflation hiked prices of all goods and services at a rapid rate.
What are Canada's consumer spending trends?
Consumer spending on groceries and mortgages in 2023 is rising compared to 2022. Governmental healthcare transfers also went up.
I have always thought of myself as a writer, but I began my career as a data operator with a large fintech firm. This position proved invaluable for learning how banks and other financial institutions operate. Daily correspondence with banking experts gave me insight into the systems and policies that power the economy. When I got the chance to translate my experience into words, I gladly joined the smart, enthusiastic Fortunly team.
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