Canadians spent more in Q1, year over year. Here’s where.

By Staff | April 19, 2018 | Last updated on April 19, 2018
2 min read

In January, Canadians boosted their spending by 6.04% over the same month last year, says the MonerisMetrics Quarterly Report by Moneris Solutions Corporation.

That was followed by a year-over-year 3.81% jump in February and 4.8% increase in March, the company says in a release. Overall, the quarter saw a hike of 4.99% over the same period last year.

Read: Inflation surpasses BoC’s target. Now what?

Canadians spent more in all provinces except for Saskatchewan, which saw spending dip by 0.9%, the report says. B.C, Quebec and Ontario were the top provinces, with spending increases of nearly 6.6%, 6.4% and 5.5%, respectively, while Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were next at 4.7% and nearly 3.4%.

This trend may not continue over the long term, says Angela Brown, president and CEO of Moneris, in a release. “While we will likely continue to see incremental year-over-year growth in 2018, we do anticipate it will slowly start to taper off over the coming quarters.”

Still, looking at data from Statistics Canada, both average weekly earnings and retail sales were higher in the month of January than in the same month in 2017—even while the economy dipped 0.1%.


Drivers of spending

  • The lead-up to Easter led to a “spending boost to merchants that sell chocolate, sweets and cards.” Drug stores and mass merchandisers posted increases of 9.13% and 11.55%, respectively, in the month of March.
  • Bakeries and grocery stores also benefitted from consumers stocking up ahead of the March long weekend, with an 8.13% increase over the same month last year.
  • Restaurants also had a strong quarter, with a year-over-year increase of 3.7%. There was a nearly 7.2% spend increase in the fast food category alone.
  • Theatrical producers were up 13.8%; accountants and auditors were up 9.9%; health and beauty spas were up nearly 8%; and book stores were up 6.4%.
  • Both credit card and debit card usage grew over the same time in 2017, the release says, but “growth was weighted more heavily towards credit cards with an increase of 5.8%. Debit card spending rose only 3.5%.
  • Tourists spent more last quarter than they did during the same period in 2017. Spending on U.S. cards maintained the top spot for foreign spend, showing a 16.3% increase over last year’s first quarter, but visitors from China, the U.K. and Mexico also contributed.

Also read: IMF forecasts slower Canadian growth relative to U.S. staff


The staff of have been covering news for financial advisors since 1998.