Canadians hit debit and credit hard on Dec. 24
TORONTO, Cananda - New figures from Moneris Solutions show many Canadians waited until the last minute to make their holiday purchases.
The debit and credit card processor says shoppers were out in full force on Dec. 24 when Moneris processed a record 453 transactions per second between 2:20 p.m. and 2:25 p.m. ET.
But Moneris says Dec. 21 was the biggest Canadian shopping day in 2012 in terms of total number of purchases made.
Canadian consumers also spent more in the fourth quarter of 2012 than in the same period a year earlier, but the pace of the increase was slower than in first nine months of 2012.
Moneris says spending at retailers it serves — ranging from general and speciality merchants to hotels and restaurants — was up 3.45 per cent in the quarter compared with the last three months of 2011.
However, the increase was much smaller than the gains of 4.77 per cent registered in third quarter, 4.67 per cent in the second and 5.34 per cent in the first quarter of 2012.
As well, each month of the fourth quarter saw successively lower gains, with October spending up 4.93 per cent, followed by 3.58 per cent in November and 2.16 per cent in December.
"Despite a slowdown in consumer spending during the fourth quarter, 2012 proved to be another profitable year for retailers across Canada," said Jim Baumgartner, president and CEO, Moneris Solutions.
"The holiday period was particularly successful for many Canadian merchants, especially on Christmas Eve and during Boxing Week.
"Given current trends, we anticipate growth will continue into 2013."
Regionally, Alberta showed the strongest growth in the fourth quarter, with an increase in spending of 6.45 per cent, compared with last year, followed closely by Newfoundland, at 6.42 per cent.
Saskatchewan, Quebec and Ontario experienced moderate growth, with increases in spending of 4.35 per cent, 3.2 per cent and 2.66 per cent, respectively. Prince Edward Island showed the slowest growth in the country, ending the quarter with a 1.01 per cent increase in spending.
The average size of credit card purchases declined by 2.13 per cent in the quarter compared with the same period in 2011, while debit purchases experienced a modest increase of 0.19 per cent.
However, overall credit card spending still slightly outpaced debit card spending, up 3.55 per cent compared with 3.29 per cent.