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Market Research Handbook



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Section 4: Consumer expenditures

In 2006, personal expenditure on consumer goods and services in Canada was recorded at about $755 billion, an increase of about $30.3 billion (+4.2%) over the figures for 2005 (table 4.1). Overall, services accounted for about 54% ($408 billion) of total personal expenditure on goods and services, while Non-Durable goods (22.5%) Durable goods (14.5%) and Semi-Durable goods (9%) accounted for the rest of the expenditures (table 4.1). Consumers in all of the provinces and territories in Canada, with the exception of Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick and Quebec, spent more money on services than on consumer goods (table 4.2).

In 2006, Gross Rent, Fuel and Power accounted for the largest share of total personal expenditures on goods and services (22%) followed by Miscellaneous Goods and Services (18.5%) and then Transportation and Communications (15.7%). On the other hand, Clothing and Footwear accounted for the smallest proportion of expenditure (4.8%). Between 2005 and 2006, the biggest increases in personal expenditure were on Recreational, Sporting and Camping equipments (+12.6%) Household appliances (+11.2%), and Furniture, Carpets and Other Floor coverings (+10.9%) (table 4.1). However, expenditures on Other fuels (-13.0%), Natural gas (-3.3%), electricity (-3.5%) and Tobacco products (-4.3%) declined (table 4.1).

Between 2002 and 2006, spending on Other fuels (-20.2%) and Tobacco products (-16.4%) experienced the most significant decline in personal expenditure, while over the same period, expenditure on Recreational, sporting and camping equipments (38.3%) Household Appliances (+36.8%), Furniture, Carpets and other floor coverings (+33.6%) and Drugs and pharmaceuticals (+31.7%) saw the steepest increases (table 4.1 and chart 4.1).

The national per capita expenditure on goods and services in Canada increased from $20,544 in 2005 to $21,170 in 2006 (+3%). Alberta ($23,907) and British Columbia ($22,553) recorded the highest per capita spending on consumer goods and services. Albertans spent $11,933 on goods and $12,190 on services, while British Columbians spent on average $9,711 on goods and $12,914 on services. Strong economic growth made Albertans ($11,933) the only ones to spend more per capita on goods than the Canadian average ($9,936). Also, between 2002 and 2006, among the ten provinces, Alberta experienced the strongest growth in total consumer expenditures on consumer goods and services (+15.8%) (table 4.2).

Consumers in Newfoundland and Labrador ($18,229) and Prince Edward Island ($18,257) and New Brunswick ($18,511) recorded the lowest per capita expenditures on consumer goods and services (table 4.2).

Average expenditures per household

In 2005, the average household expenditure in Canada rose by +5.1% ($63,636 in 2004 to $66,857 in 2005), registering the highest growth rate since the annual Survey of Household Spending (SHS) was introduced in 1997 (table 4.4).

Provincially, households in Ontario ($75,920) and Alberta ($75,346) continued to record the highest household expenditures. Together with British Columbia ($68,231), these provinces recorded average household expenditures higher than the national average. However, it was the three Western provinces: Saskatchewan (+8.3%), Manitoba (+6.9%) and British Columbia (+6.2%) who registered the most robust growth rates in the country (table 4.4). However, nationwide, the highest average spending was recorded in the Northwest Territories ($89,730), this represented a +16% increase from 2003, the most recent year the territories were in the survey. Households in Newfoundland and Labrador ($52,612) (a +5.5% gain from 2004) and Prince Edward Island ($53,007) (+4.2%) recorded the lowest average household expenditures (table 4.4).

Chart 4.1 Expenditure on selected consumer goods and services, Canada, 2002 and 2006
Source(s):  Statistics Canada, National Income and Expenditure Accounts, Quarterly Estimates catalogue no. 13-001-X and CANSIM table 380-0024.

Personal taxes (Federal and provincial income taxes) ($13,698 or 20.5%) Shelter ($12,614 or 18.9%) and Transportation ($9,073 or 13.6%) continue to account for large portions of the average expenditures of Canadian households (table 4.4). Increases in shelter and transportation costs can be partly blamed on increasing energy costs. Nationwide, there were increases in average expenditure on education from $1,078 in 2004 to $1,219 (+13%) in 2005, owing mostly to the increase spending on post-secondary tuition due to increase participation in higher education pursuits.

Provincially, average household expenditure on personal taxes was highest in Ontario ($16,308) and Alberta ($16,094), partly reflecting rising household incomes in these provinces. Also, due to the tight housing market in these provinces, Ontario ($15,135) and British Columbia ($13,899) recorded the highest average household expenditures on shelter in 2006 (table 4.4).

Food available adjusted for losses

In 2006, Canadians ate more cereal products, yogurt, pork, beef and poultry on a per capita basis, however, per capita consumption of milk and sugar, and oils, fats and vegetables experienced slight declines, while the amount of eggs, fish, cheese and fresh fruits remained stable (table 4.5).

Total cereals available adjusted for the losse factors, including pasta, bakery products and cereal-based snacks increased from 60.3 kilograms (kg) per person in 2005 to a record high 61.0 kg. Similarly, the amount of beef and veal available for consumption rose from 13.6 kg per person to 13.9 kg. Also, the amount of pork available rose modestly from 9.5 kg to 9.7 kg, following a 13.5% decline in 2005. Poultry consumption, which has been increasing over time, inched up from 13.3 kg per person in 2005 to 13.4 kg in 2006.

As well, Canadians ate 4.9 litres of yogurt on average in 2006, up from 4.8 litres in 2005 and 2.2 litres a decade earlier. Canadians consumed less of milk, as this product’s consumption continued its long-term downward trend, falling from 59.1 litres in 2005 to 58.7 litres in 2006.

The availability of refined sugar (adjusted for losses) fell from 23.3 kg per person in 2005 to 22.3 kg (4.0%) in 2006. Fresh vegetables available for consumption (excluding potatoes) also fell from 38.7 kg in 2005 to 37.8 kg per person in 2006. In the same year, Canadians used 18.6 kg of oils and fats (including butter, margarine and salad and cooking oils) per person, compared with 19.3 kg in 2005.

Electronic Commerce: Adult Canadians making online purchase

Adult Canadians made a total of 50 million orders on-line for goods and services for personal or household consumption in 2005. These orders amounted to $7.9 billion for personal or household consumption in 2005, according to data from the Canadian Internet Use Survey (table 4.7).

E-commerce, that is the value of orders made on-line, still represented a very small fraction of the $725 billion in personal expenditures on goods and services that consumers made in 2005. Travel services such as hotel reservations and car rentals were the most common type of order, followed closely by books, magazines and digital products.

There were regional variations in the level of spending on e-commerce in Canada. Ontario accounted for 44.7% (or $3.5 billion) of the total amount spent on e-commerce in Canada. Manitoba and Saskatchewan recorded the least expenditure on e-commerce in 2005 (5.3% or $419 million) (table 4.7 and chart 4.2).

Despite the fact that Ontarians spent more money than people in any other region on E-commerce, it was Albertans who spent more on average on online orders than any other province or region ($1,378). Quebec ($826.3) recorded the lowest average value of online purchases (table 4.7 and chart 4.2).

Chart 4.2 Average e-commerce spending in Canada, by region, 2005
Source(s):  Statistics Canada, Canadian Internet Use Survey (CIUS) population and CANSIM table 358-0137.

Significantly, internet shoppers patronized more Canadian vendors than foreign ones. Available data show that 63% of expenditures on e-commerce were on Canadian vendors (table 4.8).