Toronto ON, May 5, 2022 – Cautiously optimistic Canadians are turning their focus to experiences such as travel, leisure, and socializing, according to The NPD Group. In a recent survey, nearly one third of Canadians said they planned to spend more money on experiences in the next three months than they did a year ago. Outdoor recreation, travel, and socializing are the areas Canadians are most likely to spend on in the next quarter.

In the U.S., where pandemic restrictions were lifted earlier, consumers have already started to embrace travel. In a March 2022 survey of U.S. consumers, over half of the respondents said they planned to travel within the next month, up 10 points vs. 2021. Travel categories, like sun skincare, luggage, and sandals, all experienced positive dollar growth in March, as well. When asked about the activities that will take longer to return to pre-pandemic levels, Canadians responded that personal air travel, concerts, and vacations will take longer to return to pre pandemic levels, while children’s activities would be the first to recover.

“After 2+ years of pandemic living, it’s clear that Canadian consumers are eager and ready to begin certain pre-pandemic activities. This return to normalcy will likely bring with it a shift in consumer spending,” said Tamara Szames, Canadian Retail Industry Advisor at The NPD Group. “We anticipate that over the next 6-12 months, experiential spending will grow significantly as consumers become more comfortable with out-of-home activities.”

In 2022, total retail in Canada had a strong start but sales softened in February leading to Q1 dollar sales having a soft increase of +2%, while units declined -5% year over year. 

Source: The NPD Group L.P. April Omnibus, Canada 

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