PayPal study reveals the pandemic’s influence on how Canadians will celebrate, travel, shop, and give in 2021

TORONTO, November 23, 2021 /CNW/ -- Canadians are eager to see extended family and friends this holiday season, but not without concerns of COVID-19 exposure, according to the latest PayPal Canada 2021 Holiday Giving Study[1]. Only one in ten Canadians feel like the holidays will be back to normal this year while majority believe the pandemic will affect their celebrations. The study found four in ten (39 per cent) plan to celebrate the holidays this year by visiting family or friends at their homes, and a third (30 per cent) will host extended family this year.  

More than half (58 per cent) of Canadians will only celebrate with guests who are double vaccinated against COVID-19 with nearly one in ten (9 per cent) saying they will ask their guests to take a COVID-19 test before arrival regardless of their vaccination status. One in five (21 per cent) are anxious about hosting people because of health concerns.

Travel is not in the cards this season for most. While many Canadians usually get away for the holidays, fewer will this year—nearly a fifth (17 per cent) said the pandemic has placed a dampener on their holiday travel plans and 12 per cent will travel less because of the extra costs of COVID-19 testing.

Changes in holiday shopping behaviour. Canadians intend to be early birds.
Changes in consumer shopping behaviour are here to stay with 65 per cent of Canadians agreeing the pandemic has permanently changed their shopping habits. Canadian shoppers plan to avoid the crowds while holiday shopping with over half (55 per cent) saying they will shop online more and 37 per cent noted they will shop in stores at quiet times to avoid crowds.

Canadians already have a head start on their shopping this year. One in five (19 per cent) have done most of their holiday shopping with 36 per cent intending to complete it by the end of November, and 80 per cent aiming to get it done by the second week of December.

Generosity a silver lining
According to the study, Canadians say they donate on average, $142.09 a year to causes dear to their heart. Men tend to be more generous than women on average, giving $164 to charitable causes, while women gave $136 in the last 12 months. Geographically, those living in British Columbia lead the way as the most generous Canadians, donating an average of $152 over the last year, followed by those in Ontario ($147).

Encouragingly, the pandemic has helped Canadians feel more generous. According to the study, 80 per cent indicate they feel more motivated to support causes and charity as a direct result of the pandemic. Canadians also acknowledge the mental toll of the pandemic and are motivated to help-- nearly one in three Canadians felt more motivated to support mental health related causes (30 per cent). Other popular causes Canadians have been actively supporting in the last 12 months include human services (29 per cent), homelessness (27 per cent) and children’s health (21 per cent).

COVID-19 has taken a financial toll on charitable giving—almost four in ten Canadians indicate financial concerns have held them back from being more generous with their money, time, and items in the past year (38 per cent).

“When we embrace the spirit of generosity, we end up being happier ourselves,” says Dr. Elizabeth Dunn, professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of British Columbia. “In lieu of a traditional holiday gift, you could consider gifting a donation to a charitable cause that a loved one or colleague cares about. Making a donation to a charity or doing an act of service or kindness can go a long way in making you and your recipient feel more connected this holiday season.”

Survey Methodology 
PayPal's Generosity and Giving 2021 survey was conducted online by OnePoll, which surveyed 1,500 nationally representative respondents in November 2021. The poll is accurate within +/- 3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians been polled.

About PayPal
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Media Contacts
Malini Mitra,


[1] urvey was conducted online by OnePoll, which surveyed 1,500 nationally representative respondents in November 2021

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