A new survey suggests Canadians are looking at several ways to keep their spending in check this holiday season.

The survey from Rakuten, released last week with Ignite Labs, shows the average family plans to spend $570 on holiday gifts this year, down from $600 last year, while parents expect to pay $745 on holiday gifts.

When it comes to saving money during the holiday season, the survey shows Canadians plan to use five cost-saving practices that include looking for deals, using loyalty programs, planning activities instead of gifts, shopping earlier and shrinking their list of gift recipients.

“Canadians are planning a little more strategically and adding a few more line items to that budget this year to ensure that they can stretch their dollars,” Jennifer LaForge, general manager at Rakuten.ca, told BNNBloomberg.ca in a phone interview Tuesday.

In the past, shoppers started early to get ahead of frustrating supply chain issues, but now LaForge believes shoppers are starting early to spread out the holiday expenses.

"We're seeing more than half of [shoppers] are starting their holiday shopping even earlier this year and this isn't to get any inventory shortages or some of the distribution challenges we've seen in the past,” she said.

“This is literally a budget strategy to try and plan out expenses and spread them throughout the quarter.”

When it comes to sales, 63 per cent of respondents said they would shop on Black Friday, 50 per cent would look at Cyber Monday deals and 46 per cent would shop on Boxing Day.

Additionally, 35 per cent of respondents are looking to make homemade gifts for their loved ones, while 38 per cent are taking advantage of “buy now, pay later” programs to spread across the payments.

“I think the adoption of buy now, pay later is getting extra traction due to inflation this year, as a lot of individuals are looking to spread out payments and ease that heavy bill come December,” LaForge said.

The survey also found a shift in what people want to receive over the holidays. Sixty-three per cent of respondents would like to see practical gifts, while just 26 per cent are looking for luxury items.

This comes as high inflation makes it harder for Canadians to afford everyday items, let alone discretionary gifts. A new survey from National Payroll Institute found 37 per cent of Canadians are financially stressed, a new high for the 15-year-old study.


The Rakuten Canada survey was conducted online by Ignite Lab, a Toronto-based survey consultancy specializing in retail, travel and technology segments, in August 2023 with a nationally representative sample of 1,000 Canadians. A sample of this size is accurate to within +/-3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. References to previous Holiday research are from surveys conducted in 2022 & 2020 (approx. 6-months into COVID-19).