There may be 12 days of Christmas, but for Canadian consumers the holiday shopping season is already well underway and key merchant categories are seeing the benefits. Moneris Solutions, Canada’s leading processor of debit and credit payments, is monitoring the pattern of transactions moving through its system this holiday season and finds that five merchant categories reaped the greatest volume increases in November.
When comparing debit and credit transaction volumes in November 2002 versus October 2002, Moneris finds:
– music/video/DVD merchant volumes were up 48 per cent;
– department stores increased 33 per cent;
– cosmetic stores/services jumped 27 per cent,
– jewellery stores were up 24 per cent
– and sports apparel increased by 23 per cent.
Based on this pace and the activity of previous years, Moneris says Saturday, December 21 will be the single busiest day of the year for processing transactions. “During peak times on December 21, we expect to handle more than 500 credit and debit transactions per second for a predicted total of 7.6 million transactions for the day,” says Jim Baumgartner, President and CEO of Moneris Solutions. “Our consumer research tells us that gifts will make up about 60 per cent of Canadians’ expected total purchasing for the holiday season. That translates into a bonanza for merchants in many areas — such as clothing, entertainment, jewellery, and electronics. So all merchants need to be have their point-of-sale operations and staff battle- ready to handle these volumes.”
The majority of Canadians will use credit cards and debit cards over cash as their preferred way to pay for holiday purchases, according to research conducted for Moneris(*). For purchases under $50, 59 per cent of Canadians will use debit or credit. When purchases are between $50 and $100, the preference for plastic rises to 76 per cent, and for purchases over $100, credit and debit are preferred by 84 per cent of Canadians.
“Canadians love their plastic and are using credit and debit cards more frequently than cash,” says Baumgartner, “That impacts merchants’ operations. They need fast and efficient point of sale terminals and systems, particularly on the busy shopping days when long lines can lead to lost sales.”
Moneris Solutions also surveyed more than 2,000 Canadians on their holiday shopping patterns and plans. Among the results(xx):
– Canadians are expecting to spend an average of $1,114 on holiday season expenditures this year including an average of $638 on gifts;
– A slight majority of Canadians (59 per cent) say their total holiday expenditures will be the same as last year. Nineteen per cent will be spending more and 18 per cent expect to spend less.
– On gift purchases alone, two thirds of Canadians (66 per cent) are expecting to spend the same as they did last year. Thirteen per cent will be spending more and 19 per cent will be spending less.
– Atlantic Canada has the highest percentage of respondents (16.6 per cent) planning to spend more on gifts than last year, followed by British Columbians at 15.5 per cent.
– But British Columbia also has the highest percentage of people planning to spend less (24.1 per cent) followed by Ontarians at 21.6%.
– Among women, twenty-three per cent are planning to spend less, while only 13.2 per cent of men are expecting to cut back on their gift purchases.
(xx)The survey was conducted for Moneris Solutions by Decima Research Inc. by phone between November 15 and 24, 2002 with more than 2,000 adults across Canada 18 years of age or over. Results are considered accurate to within 2.2 percentage points.
(*) Research regarding inclination to use credit, debit or cash for holiday season shopping is from a separate survey for Moneris by Decima, conducted by phone between September 13 and September 22, 2002 with more than 2,000 adults across Canada 18 years of age or over. Results are considered accurate to within 2.2 percentage points.
About Moneris Solutions Corporation:
Moneris Solutions is Canada’s leading technology merchant processing company. Moneris was formed in December 2000 as a result of a 50:50 joint investment between the RBC Financial Group and BMO Financial Group. Moneris provides businesses with technologically advanced, easy to use, point-of-sale solutions designed to electronically process and authorize credit and debit card transactions, including customized loyalty card transactions. Moneris’ leading-edge technology allows merchants to streamline payment processing and improve business efficiency. Moneris is Canada’s largest and one of North America’s largest merchant payment processing companies. Moneris serves more than 300,000 North American business locations and has a staff of over 1100 employees. With its head office in Toronto, Ontario, the company also has offices in Chicago, Illinois, Montreal, Quebec, Vancouver, B.C. and Sackville, NB. For more information, please visit [www.moneris.com].