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Coast Capital poll reveals COVID-19 to have a significant impact on holiday spending plans

Vancouver, BC - As we approach the holiday season, a new poll hosted on the Angus Reid Forum for Coast Capital Savings suggests that Greater Vancouver and Vancouver Island residents will spend, on average, 25 per cent or about $300 less than last year - due to the financial and social implications of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Overall, 85 per cent of respondents say they will spend less this holiday season and almost half (45 per cent) of that total say it’s a direct result of changes to their employment or financial situation because of COVID-19. On average, British Columbians surveyed estimated they will spend $899 on holiday related items this year, compared to estimated spending of $1,197 in 2019.

Not surprisingly and as a result of the ongoing limitations on travel and large gatherings, approximately one-half of respondents indicate they will spend less on holiday parties and outings (54 per cent) and holiday related travel (47 per cent).

Despite the overall downward spending trend, about one-quarter (24 per cent) expect to spend more this holiday season, and one positive finding suggests that respondents plan to spend 8% more on charitable donations than last year.

Another finding indicates that of the 24 per cent of respondents who expect to spend more this holiday season, almost half (48%) say gift giving is even more important during this challenging period and 42 per cent suggest by spending more, they want to brighten up the holiday season during this stressful time.

While this unprecedented pandemic may lead some to spend freely, the suggestion is met with a word of caution by Lisa Colangelo, Senior Vice President, Retail Banking at Coast Capital Savings. “The global pandemic aside, the holiday season can be a stressful time for many individuals and families,’ Colangelo explains. “I encourage people to look for ways to brighten up the season and find joy while also remaining vigilant about your budget. There are so many ways to make the season special that don’t include spending a lot of money, including a focus on experiences and making memories over spending a lot on lavish gifts.”

The poll results show that 50 per cent of respondents will not set a budget of any kind this holiday season and approximately one in ten British Columbians surveyed plan to use a credit card to pay for items this holiday season.

Coast Capital recognizes that the world is changing and encourages British Columbians not to go it alone. “Your financial institution is a valuable resource and for those who may encounter financial challenges to take advantage of the tools and advice that is available. There are also many great free online budgeting tools people can use to get on top of and track their spending,” Colangelo continues.  “If you don’t have a formal day-to-day budget, that’s ok but it can be a great short term tool to use when you are coming up to a traditional high-spend season such as the Christmas holidays. By implementing some rigor around holiday shopping, consumers are less likely to give into impulse buying and soaring credit card debt.”

For some of Coast Capital’s top tips on how to manage holiday spending, visit them online [link to appropriate content].

About this survey

The findings are based on a survey conducted by Coast Capital Savings between October 26 to 29, 2020 with a representative sample of 806 online adults in Greater Vancouver and on Vancouver Island who are members of the Angus Reid Forum. The precision of Angus Reid Forum online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within +/- 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all residents of Greater Vancouver and Vancouver Island been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

About the Angus Reid Forum:

The Angus Reid Forum is Canada’s most well-known and trusted online public opinion community consisting of engaged residents across the country who answer surveys on topical issues that matter to all Canadians.

About Coast Capital Savings

Coast Capital Savings is Canada’s largest credit union by membership and, in 2018, made history becoming B.C.’s first federal credit union. Owned by its 593,000 members, Coast Capital offers banking and investment services digitally and through its 52 branches in the Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Okanagan, and Vancouver Island regions of British Columbia. An Imagine Canada Caring Company and a Certified B Corporation in recognition of its social performance, Coast Capital invests 10 per cent of its bottom line in youth focused community organizations, programs, partnerships and events. The credit union has been recognized as one of Canada's Most Admired Corporate Cultures™, and holds a Best Managed Companies Platinum Club designation. Coast Capital has a history of introducing innovative products to help their members achieve financial wellbeing including Canada’s first free chequing account from a full-service financial institution and Help Extras®, enabling members to invest in their future. To learn more, visit


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