Canadians are More Cautious than Americans in Planning Holiday Events and Travel

Plenty of glassware is essential for any party. Credit: Copyright 2015 Kathy Hunt

Thunder Bay – COVID-19 Update – What plans are you making for the upcoming holidays?

One area seen as declining will be traditional trick-or-treating at Halloween.

Headed into Christmas and New Year’s Eve, Canadians are planning their holidays now.

With the opening of the land border, in November that likely will see many people in Thunder Bay and Western Ontario flocking to Minnesota.

Since the land border closing, Ryden’s Border Store has seen lots of packages arrive that could not get to their destination as usual. That casual drive to the border has been halted by COVID-19 and the land border closure.

Nu­merator, a data and tech company serving the market research space, has launched a new Canadian holiday sentiment study to understand the impact of the pandemic and vaccination status on upcoming holidays, and specifically, how Canadian consumers plan to celebrate, shop and spend for Halloween, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve 2021. The sentiment survey of more than 2,800 Canadian consumers shows the following key findings:

Halloween 2021:

  • 4 in 5 Canadian consumers expect COVID-19 to impact their Halloween plans, with 63% expecting a slight impact, and 19% expecting a significant impact. Of the Canadian consumers who typically celebrate Halloween, nearly 1 in 10 (9%) say they will not celebrate in 2021.
  • Trick-or-treating sees one of the largest declines among Halloween celebration plans, down 13 points from typical years. 29% of vaccinated consumers say they plan to trick-or-treat, compared to nearly half (46%) of unvaccinated consumers (those who do not plan to get the vaccine).
  • Fewer Canadians plan to buy Halloween candy than their US counterparts. In typical years, 90% of consumers in both countries purchase Halloween candy. In 2021, 84% of US consumers plan to do so, compared to 78% of Canadians.

Christmas 2021:

  • More than a quarter (27%) of Canadian consumers plan to buy Christmas gifts on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. 17% say they plan to spend more on Christmas gifts this year compared to typical years.
  • The majority of Canadian consumers plan to buy their Christmas gifts from Mass (66%) and/or Online retailers (62%). This is followed by Club stores (40%), Specialty retailers (29%), Drug stores (26%), Grocery stores (17%), and Home Improvement stores (12%).
  • Canadian consumers are planning to shift Christmas food and drink spend from traditional Grocery stores (-10 points vs typical years) to channels like Mass (+3.9 points), Club (+3.5 points), Delivery Services (e.g. Instacart, DoorDash, etc.) (+0.7 points), and Online (+0.2 points).

New Year’s Eve 2021:

  • Fewer Canadian consumers plan to buy alcoholic beverages for 2021 New Year’s Eve celebrations. 68% of consumers say they plan to buy alcohol this year, compared to nearly three-quarters (74%) of consumers in typical years.
  • Canadian consumers remain cautious about New Year’s Eve celebrations. Activities like attending parties (-17 points), gathering with family and friends (-10 points), and going out for food or drinks (-11 points) are all seeing double digit point drops compared to typical years.
  • Despite impending vaccine requirements for air and train travel, unvaccinated consumers are more likely to travel than vaccinated consumers. While many are planning to avoid travel for this New Year’s Eve (down 6 points in 2021), those who do not plan to get the COVID-19 vaccine are twice as likely as vaccinated consumers to say they would travel (13% unvaccinated vs. 6% vaccinated).
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