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Published On: Monday, 24 April 2017

Canadian Spending Up 3.46% for Q1 in 2017

Canadian Spending Up 3.46% for Q1 in 2017
While overall spending is up, the quarter's results continue a trend of gradually slowing growth, suggesting that 2017 may be a year of moderate spending when compared to 2015 and 2016.

CANADA - Spending in Canada grew by 3.46 per cent in the first quarter of 2017 on a year-over-year basis, according to the MonerisMetrics Quarterly Report released by Moneris Solutions Corporation ("Moneris").

While overall spending is up, the quarter's results continue a trend of gradually slowing growth, suggesting that 2017 may be a year of moderate spending when compared to 2015 and 2016.

March was the strongest month of the quarter, demonstrating growth of 4.44 per cent over the same month last year. January posted 3.68 per cent growth year over year, while spending in February was on par with 2016, at only 0.47 per cent growth.

This modest rise in spending is in line with other recent economic indicators, with Statistics Canada posting slight increases in GDP, average weekly earnings and retail sales, all during the January time period.

From a regional perspective, Quebec and New Brunswick led the country's spending growth, with increases of 5.49 per cent and 4.59 per cent respectively. British Columbia and Ontario also posted stronger than average growth, with increases of 4.26 per cent and 4.18 per cent respectively.

By contrast, Alberta and Newfoundland continued regional trends of negative growth – spending in Alberta was down 0.72 per cent, and spending in Newfoundland was down 1.68 per cent.

Credit cards continued to dominate the share of spending in the first quarter, representing 64.8 per cent of transactions, with debit cards representing the remaining 35.2 per cent of transactions. Spending on credit cards increased by 4.85 per cent over the first quarter of 2016, while spending on debit cards increased by a slightly smaller volume, at 0.98 per cent.

Contactless payments enter the Canadian mainstream:

2017 has seen continued growth in the use of contactless payments by Canadians. The volume of "tapped" dollars increased by 62.17 per cent during the quarter, while the total number of contactless transactions increased by 51.43 per cent over the same period in 2016.

The 62.17 per cent increase in contactless dollar volume signifies a notable change in growth patterns when compared to previous quarters that have seen triple digit growth in this area.

Contactless transactions accounted for 38.03 per cent of all transactions made during the quarter, compared to 27.14 per cent during the same period in 2016.

Foreign spending up for U.S., China, Australia and Mexico:

Canada's low-dollar continued to drive year-over-year increases in foreign spend. The amount of dollars spent on foreign cards in Canada grew by 6.06 per cent over the same period last year, as Canada remains a desirable destination for cross-border shopping and tourism.

Visitors from the US were the top foreign spenders this quarter, spending 4.3 per cent more compared to the same quarter last year. As with last quarter, spending on cards from China and Australia were the second and third highest contributors to foreign spending growth by volume with year-over-year increases of 8.51 per cent and 25.40 per cent respectively.

Mexico was the fourth highest contributor, achieving 20.95 per cent growth this year over the first quarter of 2016. Mexico's growth coincides with recent changes to visa requirements for Mexican travellers to Canada, and is consistent with Statistics Canada data from January, which indicated Mexican tourist visits were up 56 per cent over the same month in 2016.