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Susan Ward

2013 Holiday Spending Outlook Cheery According to BMO

By November 13, 2013

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Canadians have the spending spirit, according to the BMO's Holiday Spending Outlook survey.

How to increase Christmas sales.

Respondents plan to spend an average of $674 for gifts this year, compared to an average of $583 last year, and overall, respondents plan to spend an average of $1,810 this holiday season, up from $1,610 in 2012, a increase of 12%.

Trips is what Canadians in most provinces are planning to spend the most money on; the average travel spend of $689 is up 22% since last year and nearly doubled since 2011 - although predicted spending is up in every category the BMO survey looks at; gifts, trips, entertaining and other.

And the survey shows that if you're a retailer and haven't started your holiday shopping campaigns, you need to get cracking; November marks the start of holiday shopping season for four-in-ten (41 percent) Canadians, with one-in-three (33 percent) starting earlier, and one-in-four (23 percent) waiting until December.

(Planning an Internet campaign this season? Here's a plan for an online marketing campaign that you can put together in one dedicated day.)

As always, there are spending differences across the country. In this survey, Ontario residents are the most generous, planning to spend $873 on gifts this holiday season, while those in Quebec plan to spend $433 on gifts.

Read the entire 2013 BMO Holiday Spending Outlook (news release).

Deloitte Holiday Outlook Survey 2013 is also positive this year, predicting a sales growth of 2 to 2.5% for the upcoming holiday season in Canada (and even better news for holiday sales in the U.S. which are predicted to rise 4% to 4.5%).

Cross-border shopping is not going to be as much of an issue this season, with 73.8% of Canadian not planning on doing any of it.

However, the survey does warn that between Canadians' new shopping style of using the web and mobile applications to actively research products (even while they're in store) and mounting competition, price and outstanding value are going to be the main sales drivers.

"With several retail players competing for a share of sales, low prices will be the most important consideration for 64.3% of consumers who find it to be the most important attribute they look for from a retailer. Shopping behavior will change this holiday season as Canadians plan to buy more items on sale (31.6%), research online for better prices and discounts (24.7%), look for free shipping offers (21.6%) and take advantage of flash-sales (9.7%)."

This is the season, then, to make the extra effort to get customers to open their wallets.

Promotions, price and service are going to be what distinguishes winners from losers this Christmas retail season.

These four tips for promoting Christmas sales will help get them into your store rather than the competitors'.

And don't ignore social media; it can be an important component of your small business marketing as increasing numbers of customers are using social media to find, share and discuss information about brands and products. My How to Create a Social Media Plan will show you how to get started if you haven't already.

More on Increasing Christmas Sales:

Image (c) Tay Rees / Getty Images

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