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Holiday consumerism could be delaying financial goals for many British Columbians.

New poll reveals holiday spending on the rise but consumers concerned by extra financial pressure.

Vancouver, B.C. (November 22, 2021) – With the holiday season right around the corner, a new poll hosted on the Angus Reid forum for Coast Capital suggests that, while holiday spending is predicted to return to pre-pandemic levels this year, British Columbians are concerned by the extra financial pressure and how it will impact their longer term financial goals.

The findings revealed that British Columbians plan to spend more on average this year than in 2019 and 2020, with nearly one-third (29 per cent) of those polled anticipating spending an average of $736 more than they did last year, representing an 82 per cent increase year-over-year. Of those who plan to spend more, 34 per cent reported that they are in a better financial position this year, with data showing a 50 per cent decrease on the impacts of the pandemic on British Columbians’ spending.

A return to in-person shopping appears to be the major driver behind this increase in holiday spending.  Nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) of respondents reported that they intend to shop more in-store this year than last and 69 per cent plan to support more small businesses this holiday season than in previous years. Of those polled, 36 per cent said that this year’s return to in-person shopping will increase their overall spend, especially among those aged 18-34 (45 per cent of respondents).

However, the majority of respondents (52 per cent) also indicated that holiday spending will put extra pressure on their finances. The findings show that two-thirds (65 per cent) of British Columbians polled plan to pay for the holidays using a credit card or loan and 30 per cent are concerned with racking up credit card debt as a result.

Equally concerning, 20 per cent of those using a credit card or loan to pay for their purchases said that they will not pay it off right away. Younger consumers (aged 18 - 34) are the most likely to feel the financial impacts of holiday spending, with 33 per cent saying that the extra expenditures will delay their longer term financial goals, such as general expenses, saving for a home, and saving for retirement. The strain caused by pressures to make this holiday season merry and bright by spending more has the potential to exacerbate the financial crisis for British Columbians as they continue to grapple with the rising cost of living, record debt levels, and stagnant income mobility, which have been growing across the country for decades.

While many British Columbians seem to be feeling more secure in their financial position this year versus last, it’s important to balance holiday spending with staying on course for bigger picture financial goals. “Brightening up the holiday season with gift-giving can be incredibly rewarding,” says Lisa Colangelo, SVP Retail Banking at Coast Capital. “But I encourage people to keep their long-term goals top-of-mind to minimize post-holiday financial strain. Taking the time to consider your holiday budget, setting expectations with family and friends and potentially investing in time spent together as opposed to gifts under the tree are all good ways to thoughtfully manage holiday spending.” Lisa also suggests that British Columbians who are going to exchange presents with their loved ones’ consider giving gifts to help alleviate financial strain and support a loved one’s financial goals, such as a payment towards a student loan, a contribution to a down payment on a first home, or to a wedding or baby fund.

A certified B Corporation propelled by its social purpose, Coast Capital is Canada’s largest credit union by membership, and B.C.’s first federal credit union. As a member-owned financial cooperative, Coast Capital understands the struggles facing everyday British Columbians and what they really need from a financial partner. The credit union is on a mission to support British Columbians by working to address the root causes that contribute to the financial challenges they face today, as well as ensure they are confident on their path to achieving what really matters to them.

For help with overcoming your real financial challenges to reach your real financial goals, connect with Coast Capital and their team of trusted advisors at


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About this survey

The findings are based on a survey conducted by Coast Capital between November 3 to 7, 2021 with a representative sample of 518 British Columbian adults (in Greater Vancouver and Vancouver Island) who plan to participate in holiday shopping this year and 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 +/- 4.3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. 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

At Coast Capital, we’re not dreaming about a better future, we’re building one. As a member-owned financial cooperative, we’re helping our 600,000 members with their real financial goals and real challenges so they can live the life they want. We’re also building a better future through investing 10% of our bottom line back into our communities, which over the past two decades totals almost $90M. Canada’s largest federal credit union, Coast Capital is a platinum member of Canada’s Best Managed Companies, one of Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures, a BC Top Employer, and a proud Certified B Corporation®. To learn more, visit us online at                                                                                                               

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