More Canadians Doing Holiday Shopping Early Amid Supply Shortages: Poll

By Andrew Chen
Andrew Chen
Andrew Chen
Andrew Chen is an Epoch Times reporter based in Toronto.
December 4, 2021 Updated: December 5, 2021

The global supply chain disruption has prompted some Canadians to do their Christmas shopping ahead of time, but many still have difficulty finding the right items to add to their carts, a new poll finds.

The poll, conducted by Canada’s Angus Reid Institute, shows that four out of 10 online shoppers report at least some difficulty finding the products on their wishlists, while close to half (49 percent) of in-person shoppers face the same problem.

Supply chain disruptions and labour shortages, already a problem due to COVID-19 pandemic, were exacerbated by the recent flooding on the West Coast, which choked  the flow of goods from the Port of Vancouver, Canada’s largest port.

Because of the supply chain woes, many Canadians (35 percent) said they have already started their holiday shopping, while 6 percent said they will wait until later, hoping that some of the disruptions will have cleared up by then.

Angus Reid Institute president Shachi Kurl said concerns about the supply of goods also appear to be pushing Canadian shoppers to the malls earlier than usual.

“We’re already finding that three in 10, nearly one-third of shoppers, are telling us they’ve already started their holiday shopping process, they’ve already started buying gifts because of news around supply chain issues, as well as their own personal experiences of not finding what they’re looking for,” Kurl said.

The Angus Reid survey also found that supply chain issues and natural disasters were not the only reasons that have dampened holiday shopping this year; some respondents said that inflationary pressure has also added challenge.

As costs for common household goods continue to rise, over half (53 percent) say they feel emotionally worse off and 41 percent say they also feel greater economic anxiety.

Women, particularly those aged 54 and younger, say they feel greater emotional stress, while the same is true for close to half of men (47 percent) aged 55 and older. Lower-income Canadians are experiencing higher levels of economic stress, with 49 percent of those in the lowest income bracket (making less than $25,000) saying they feel more stressed in 2021 than in most other years.

Anxiety around money has led to more caution, the poll found. Roughly three in ten Canadians (31 percent) say they will opt to spend less this year than in most years, compared to 19 percent who say they will spend more.

Those with higher financial stress are twice as likely to choose to cut spending (41 percent) than to increase it (22 percent) over this holiday season.

According to the poll, financial stress levels are the highest in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, while Quebec reports the lowest stress level, though 42 percent still find themselves worrying more this year than in previous years.

The poll was conducted online between Nov. 26 and Nov 29, randomly surveying 2,005 Canadian adults who are members of the Angus Reid Forum. The poll carries a margin of error of +/- 2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Andrew Chen
Andrew Chen is an Epoch Times reporter based in Toronto.