Canadians have a clear focus for their spare cash – having fun – although a greater share are also paying down debt and investing for their future.
The trend towards spending on experiences rather than material items is highlighted in a new poll from Mintel with 58% of respondents preferring to use discretionary dollars in this way.
"Positive economic conditions such as low unemployment are leading Canadians to feel especially confident about the state of their finances this year, so much so that many consumers have shifted their priorities from paying off debt toward spending their extra dollars on experiences,” said Carol Wong-Li, Senior Lifestyles and Leisure Analyst at Mintel.
The top ways to get those experiences are entertainment (39% up from 25% in 2017), dining out (38% vs. 30%), and travel (35%).
“This is a boon for non-essential categories such as dining out and entertainment—areas that consumers had taken a step back from in previous years owing to a more conservative approach to spending that has been alleviated over the last year," added Wong-Li.
Debt reduction, investment also growing
But when the fun is done, debt is in focus with 33% using discretionary dollar to reduce the burden – however, this was the top priority for spare cash last year.
Investment has seen an uptick this year with 27% using their discretionary dollars for this purpose.
The poll also found that 43% of consumers see their financial situation as "healthy," with enough money left over at the end of the month for a few luxuries or treats.
More than half (58%) of Canadians today agree that their financial goals are attainable. Most say they have already or will be able to save money (87%), pay off debt (85%) or have a comfortable retirement (78%).
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