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Canadians prioritize intentional spending as nearly nine in 10 feel the financial pinch.

Canadians are feeling financially squeezed, with nearly nine in 10 (86 percent) finding their money isn't going as far today as it used to. With inflation and rising interest rates adding to the pressures on households, research commissioned by Interac shows that two-thirds (67 percent) of Canadians are practicing 'intentional spending,' the action of making purposeful purchasing decisions that live up to their financial goals and personal values. Today, the majority of Canadians (67 percent) are carefully planning their purchases, and over half (55 percent) say they are less likely to spend on impulse now than they were before the pandemic.



The Interac data shows that six in 10 shoppers (62 percent) want tools which encourage intentional spending. Today, the company launched Sound Shopping, a new music track that provides a balanced backdrop to the shopping experience, intended to promote mindful spending at a time of financial anxiety.

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"Music surrounds us when we shop, but we rarely stop to think about the emotional responses which are elicited by tempo, mode and instrumentation, and the impact it can have on our behaviours," said Valentin Fleur, Managing Director at Sixième Son, the sonic branding agency which created the Sound Shopping track. "The music we created is designed to span the length of a 20-minute shopping trip and uses all of these elements with the intent to trigger a more mindful shopping experience."

Canadians can visit interac.ca/en/sound-shopping/ to put the Sound Shopping track to the test for themselves on their next shopping trip. They are also invited to browse a variety of tips and advice to help focus on mindful spending, published on In The Know.


Interac transaction data shows Canadians used Interac Debit to conduct nearly 7 percent more transactions this past summer as compared to spring 2022 and the spending amount rose almost 6 percent. While summer is typically associated with higher spending volumes, the data shows a net increase in Interac Debit spending of 2 percent, as compared with June-August 2021. This increase is particularly felt in the hospitality sector, with Interac Debit spending at eating places increasing nearly 60 percent in the summer of 2022 versus 2021.

Interac research findings on intentional spending provide other important insights:

  • A mindful moment: Six in 10 Canadians (63 percent) are spending more on essentials than they were even three months ago, and more than half (54 percent) say inflation is making it more difficult to afford the things they need. Interac transaction data shows Interac Debit spending on gas and groceries has increased approximately 9 percent and 4 percent respectively in the last three months. Canadians are making an effort to purchase what they need rather than what they want (65 percent), to be more considerate with their spending (57 percent), and only purchase items with personal meaning (33 percent).

  • The power of a pause: More than six in 10 Canadians who practice intentional spending (64 percent) pause and think about purchases before making them. When it comes to making non-essential purchases, the Interac study shows that taking at least a one-day pause before completing the transaction often leads to increased satisfaction.

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  • Taking back control: At a time when money worries appear to be rising, less than one in five Canadians (18 %) link intentional spending with feeling restricted. Instead, nearly eight in 10 (77 %) have positive associations, including feeling in control, disciplined, thoughtful, empowered, happy and considerate. Debit can be a helpful tool when it comes to maintaining control of spending; four in 10 Canadians (44 %) say they are hesitant to use credit and prefer to only spend the money they have.

  • Pressures and perspectives: As Canadians enjoy fewer restrictions than they did during earlier stages of the pandemic, the opportunities and temptations to spend are rising. Different demographics face different pressures. Fifty percent of Gen Z adults report they are spending more money because of increased social activities, compared to 20 percent of Boomers. Meanwhile, Interac transaction data shows that Interac Debit spending at restaurants and eating places has increased by 7 percent, bars by 15 per cent and theatres by 22 per cent in the summer compared to the spring of 2022.

  • Bargain boom: The pandemic had a profound impact on the spending habits of many Canadians, as nearly half (47 per cent) say they now look for deals and sales when shopping. Interac transaction data shows that spending at discount retailers is rising, with Interac Debit volumes at discount stores increasing by 7 per cent in the summer of 2022 over the summer of 2021, while spending at premium stores retracted by 1.5 per cent over the same time.

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About the research into intentional spending

Hill+Knowlton Strategies used the Leger Opinion online panel to survey 2,500 Canadians over the period of August 11th to 16th, 2022. Sampling was done within age, gender, and region quotas. The length of survey was less than 5 minutes. Data was weighted on age, gender, and region according to 2016 census figures. An associated margin of error for a randomly selected sample of n=2,500 would be ±3.1%, 19 times out of 20. Hill+Knowlton Strategies also used the Logit Group's online panel to survey 300 Canadians over the period of August 12th to August 29th, 2022. Sampling was done to ensure a good mix of age, gender, and region across Canada. The length of survey was less than 10 minutes and required participants to complete a short shopping experience as part of the study.

About the Interac transaction data

The national Interac Debit transaction data cited is anonymized and aggregated. Figures are reflective of gross amounts, not adjusted for inflation. Spring refers to March 1st – May 31st, while summer is measured from June 1st – August 31st, 2022.

SOURCE Interac Corp.

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