Consumer spending in Canada shifting for good or worse

Over the past year, consumer inflation has increased rapidly, reaching year over year increase of more than 6.8% until April 2022 alone. Since April 2022, inflation has been rising even more, Statistics Canada is not releasing all the data yet, but if we see the released data, they predict rising consumer inflation of 7% for 2023.

Canadian Inflation rate

During the past year (April 2021 to April 2022), the price of food rose by 9.7%. Canadians had to pay much more for basic food staples, such as fresh fruit (+10.0%), meat (+10.1%) and fresh vegetables (+8.2%). With rising costs in other areas such as shelter and transportation, Canadians have also been less able to budget money for food.

When asked in which area they were most affected by rising prices during the six months preceding the survey, 43% of Canadians answered food. After food, the most affected areas were transportation (32%), shelter (9%) and household operations (8%).

Do Canadians spend on wrong things?

“Spending choices often change in tandem with technological developments and phones are one example. In 2019, Canadian households spent five times more on average for cellphone services ($1,343) than they did on landline telephone services ($257). 

Cellphone usage continues to rise among Canadian households. The share of households that reported having a landline decreased from 63.3% in 2017 to 54.0% in 2019. Landline use was most prevalent among households in the Atlantic provinces, with New Brunswick (77.0%) and Newfoundland and Labrador (75.0%) topping the list. It was also most prevalent among Canadian households headed by a person aged 65 years or older (84.5%). 

In contrast, the share of households that reported having at least one cellphone grew from 89.4% in 2017 to 91.3% in 2019. Cellphone ownership was highest in Alberta (96.1%).

The share of households who reported having only a cellphone and no landline increased from 35.7% in 2017 to 45.1% in 2019. While the shift from landline to cellphone ownership occurred in every province, households in Quebec reported the largest change, where the share rose from 30.6% in 2017 to 43.6% in 2019″ ,-Stats Canada

Canadians spend more on cell phones

Spending on cell phones is a big increase for sure, yet another spending went up among Canadians, pleasure! Canadians spend more than ever on goods and services that invoke amusement and good feelings. The market size of the amusement park sector in Canada reached 413.2 million U.S. dollars in 2021, reflecting a growth from the previous year’s size of 335.5 million U.S dollars. The sector was forecast to increase further to 551.9 million U.S dollars in 2022. – Source

We have made our own research on amusement spending during Christmas time for instance and have found out some shocking results. Amusement attractions during Christmas time are all sold out! Very popular attractions during Christmas are Christmas light drive thru events, these type of events are selling all tickets in matter of 3 days for the entire season! Very surprising finding given the facts of drastic inflation during 2022 and 2023 predictions.

READ MORE: Canadian Food Prices to Increase more in 2023

Canadians reduce spending on wrong things

Municipalities and private property owners fail to maintain their properties due to lack of funds or simply fail to dedicate time and funds for regular maintenance. The Canadian Infrastructure Report Card, is based on detailed surveys of municipalities from across the country.

It says about 12 per cent of municipal infrastructure is in poor or very poor condition and those assets would cost $141-billion to replace. A further $247-billion in assets are in fair condition.

Theory of broken windows

We see rise of insurance claims and claim denials doe to insurance investigations, simply because home and property owners fail to invest into maintenance. Home owners procrastinate on important repairs like replacing dated roof shingles, home inspection, cleaning, sealing draft and water causing cracks and holes. Cities struggle to remove all the leaves clogging drains and blocking sidewalks because home owners fail to remove their leaves and branches from properties. Something that was unthinkable years ago! Canadians have been World leaders in property cleaning and beautifying during all four seasons! What has caused this switch in attitude? Sense of pride and “keeping up with the Joneses” has lost it’s spark, nice and clean neighbourhoods turn into sad and undesirable blocks full of weeds, oily driveways and slippery slops during winter. Many Canadian neighbourhoods get the “syndrome of broken windows”, a very well known theory in criminology and psychology. Theory that says that minor infractions, lack of maintaining neighbourhoods like leaving broken windows on buildings lead to apathy and more people getting used to the situation. The theory says that seeing unmaintained neighbours property leads to more unmaintained properties, sad and unmaintained neighbourhoods create raised crime rate and so on.

READ MORE: The Bank of Canada hikes interest rate for seventh time this year

How to change hearts and minds

Many Ontario residents for instance literally give up. More than 100K people have left the province during 2021 and more have done so during 2022. But giving up on Ontario is maybe not necessary! It might be a hard thing to do, it might be difficult to change peoples minds but it can be done for sure. Ontario is certainly a great province to live in, offering economy, natural resources and activities unlike anywhere else. One thing it probably lacks is dedication on individual and municipal basis. Bringing pride in beautifying neighbourhoods and individual properties can change the down spiral we have seen in recent years. Better maintained properties have an enormous outcome on individual and municipal economy, individual savings and even municipal crime rate. Lack of regular maintenance will cause unwanted and major breakdowns. Something every manufacturing industry or property management knows very well. It is up to property owners to learn this very important information before it is gets too costly for many more.

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