Canadians' savings rate among best in the Americas but lags globally

Many major economies in Europe and Asia are saving far more according to research

Canadians' savings rate among best in the Americas but lags globally
Steve Randall

Canadians have been boosting their savings in readiness for a potential recession, but how does the Canadian saving habit compare to those in other major economies?

That depends on where you look according to a new study by financial products comparison site HelloSafe which found that Canada’s savings rate in 2021 was just under 23% of GDP.

When considered against other countries in the Americas, this isn’t too bad. The US savings rate is well below Canada’s at 18% while Brazil falls just below 18%. But people in Mexico (24%) and Ecuador (25%) save more than Canadians.

However, when considered against many countries in Europe and Asia, Canada’s savings rate starts to look weak:

  • China 45%
  • Germany 31%
  • India 30%
  • Russia 29%
  • Japan 28%
  • Australia 26%
  • France 24%
  • Italy 23%

Canada lags the global average of 27%. Qatar is the country with the highest savings rate as a percentage of GDP (51.4%).

In terms of the G7 countries, Canada ranks just behind Italy and ahead of the US and the UK (which ranks worst with a 16% savings rate).

The research is based on 2021 data, before the impact of inflation and interest rates that has seen many Canadians tap their ‘do not touch’ savings accounts.

Narrowing gap

On a brighter note, the analysis shows that Canadians have significantly improved their savings rate over the past decade or so.

In 2011, it was 21%, well below the 26% global average, and dipped below 20% between 2015 and 2019, and again in 2020 (a low point at 18%) despite the global average hovering around 26% throughout.

The gap between Canada and the rest of the world has therefore narrowed from around 6 percentage points in 2011 to around 4 percentage points in 2021.

Visit HelloSafe Canada for more tools.