Canadian consumer spending rose by 3.8% on a year-over-year basis in Q4 2014, following three consecutive quarters of stagnant growth, according to a quarterly report released by Moneris Solutions Corporation.

It adds spending across Canada rose by 3.5% in October, 6.1% in November and 4% in December.

Among the provinces, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador outperformed, with gains of 6.8% and 4.9%, respectively. Ontario and British Columbia followed (with gains of 4.5% and 4.6%, respectively) and then Nova Scotia (1.1%) and Saskatchewan (1.7%).

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Credit card spending accounted for 63.3% of total spending processed by Moneris, while debit cards made up 36.7%. Overall spending using credit cards and debit cards increased by 5% and 1.8%, respectively.

Holiday stats strong

Angela Brown, president and CEO of Moneris, finds, “The period beginning with Black Friday and continuing through to Boxing Day [was] an important sales driver for Canadian retailers in 2014,” said. “The gains […] during this period rounded off an encouraging quarter for many merchants.”

The report shows:

  • Black Friday beat out Boxing Day this year, with total sales being 5% higher;
  • still, the pace of growth was slower on Black Friday (5.1%) than on the days leading up to and immediately following Christmas;
  • growth during the latter period (between December 19th and 24th, and between December 26th and 30th) was up 7% and 7.9% over 2013, respectively; and
  • December 23rd was the busiest shopping day of the year.


Taking advantage of gas prices

Due to the recent drop in gas prices, Moneris reports a 6% decline in the cost per transaction of gas over Q4 2014. The most marked decline was seen in December, with an overall decrease of 15% in cost per transaction.

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Canadians are spending significantly more on transportation compared to the same period last year. Overall spending on transportation rose 11.4% in Q4, with the largest increase occurring in November (13.5%). In particular, taxicabs and airlines experienced growth increases of 9.8% and 5.9%, respectively. That’s likely due to heightened travel activity during the holiday season.

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More on food, less on entertainment

Sales increased at fast food restaurants (+7.8%) and dine-in restaurants (+5.4%) in Q4 2014, compared to the same period in 2013.

Meanwhile, consumers spent less on entertainment at the end of 2014 (-0.9%) than at the end of 2013. The greatest decrease took place in October (-2.5%), followed by November (-1.6%) and December (+1.0%).

Read: Canadians cut spending