Sunday, December 28, 2008

We spent big and in cash

27th December 2008

Bleak economic times failed to stop Canadians from swiping their debit cards more than 15.9 million times on Tuesday -- the busiest shopping day of the year.

That total is 300,000 swipes greater than the busiest day last year, which fell two days earlier on Dec. 21. The statistics were released yesterday, so it was impossible to include Boxing Day activity in this year's total.


"Canadians love their debit and we are one of the leaders of the world's use of debit," said Caroline Hubberstey, public and government affairs director for Interac, which released the statistics.

"We saw people use Interac as a budgeting strategy, because they were using money that they had."

Ontario this year came second-last of all the provinces for most debit use at 0.47 transactions per person -- adding up to $330.5 million. The biggest shoppers were found in Prince Edward Island -- 0.74 transactions per person -- and Newfoundland -- 0.73 transactions per person.


Grocery stores hauled in over $219.5 million for holiday dinner supplies, while people spent $180.6 million on specialty clothing.

Consumers also spent $121.5 million at department stores; $64.9 million at booze outlets; $64 million at gas stations; and $30.8 million at bars and restaurants.

Interac statistics showed that Canadians power-shopped during the final days before Christmas, swiping their cards nearly 40 million times between Dec. 21 and 23.

Will trends continue into the new year?

"We know the figures now," Hubberstey said. "We watch them year over year and time will tell in 2009."

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