Canadians' Christmas gift budgets on the decline
Buying local, more important than ever this year
This year, with inflation rising and the cost of living indexing, seven out of ten Canadians plan to spend a maximum of $500 on all their Christmas presents this year. We talk to Isabelle Mercier, Business Development Commissioner at DEV Vaudreuil-Soulanges, about the importance of buying local.
This information comes from a recent study conducted by the Léger polling firm in collaboration with the Retail Council of Canada. The purpose of the study was to document the consumer habits of Canadians as the holiday season approaches.
By way of comparison, in 2022, the average amount spent by Canadians on their holiday shopping was $790. "Local businesses play an essential role in our communities. They set the tone for commercial arteries, whether in a large city like Vaudreuil-Dorion or in smaller communities. They are the pride of their owners, and if people don't go there to spend and support them, they won't last. It's essential to shop there, because just like the larger chains, local businesses are also experiencing rising supply costs and labor shortages," she explains.
For Ms. Mercier, every dollar invested in a local merchant represents an extra boost to help them stay open. "Local businesses contribute to the quality of life for some people, as well as being dynamic places where people can sit, meet and relax, while getting exceptional service. If we want them to last over time, it's important to consume them on a regular basis," she adds.
What do we mean by local commerce and convenience commerce? The former represents a business established on the territory, which may also belong to a commercial banner such as Renaud-Bray or Hamster. "They're also important because they employ local people. Convenience stores are independent businesses owned mainly by local entrepreneurs who offer consumers a different concept. For example, Sous les Oliviers is well known in the region. Although the company has locations elsewhere in Quebec, it's still a local business," she adds.
A campaign to encourage local purchasing
In collaboration with the Chambre de commerce et d'industrie de Vaudreuil-Soulanges (CCIVS), DEV Vaudreuil-Soulanges launched a campaign earlier this year to encourage local purchasing. "DEV has been committed to this mission for over ten years. This year, it was possible to obtain a prepaid Hello Visa card to make holiday purchases at nearly 110 regional merchants already registered. To encourage local purchases, DEV and the CCIVS offered a generous bonus of 30% of the amount paid by the consumer. This means that the consumer's budget is boosted and additional dollars will be spent in participating stores."
In concrete terms, this means that a consumer who bought a $100 card received a $130 prepaid card. In total, these organizations have allocated $12,000 to support local merchants.
This increase was made by the two organizations following the publication of the above-mentioned study. "We wanted to be sure that local businesses would have their share of the pie, despite a drop in the holiday budget of most Canadians. The Vaudreuil-Soulanges region boasts 3,500 businesses. With this initiative, we wanted to put the spotlight on our local businesses, let people discover them and remind them that they play an essential role in the Quebec ecosystem," she says.
Buying local, a great community effort
As the holiday season approaches, Ms. Mercier would like to issue a challenge to the region's consumers. "I understand that in the current economic climate, it's difficult to spend 100% of your gift budget at local merchants. However, it is possible to reserve a few purchases to be made in the region. If everyone invests 5% of their budget with local merchants, they can continue to energize our commercial arteries. It's a big community effort, but well worth it. Even if our gift budget is down this year, don't forget to spend at our merchants in spite of everything," she concludes.
For more information on the Hello prepaid Visa card, visit https://achatlocalvs.com/cartehello/.