Consumer spending rose nearly six per cent during the first quarter of 2015, says one of North America’s largest processors of debit and credit payments. Spending on home improvements, apparel and restaurants drove the 5.78 per cent increase, according to the Moneris Metrics Quarterly Report, suggesting suggests that “consumers feel confident enough to continue to spend on non-essentials,” according to Moneris CEO and President
Angela Brown. “For Canadian businesses, it was a great start to the year,” she said “Spending remained strong after the holiday season.” This marks the second consecutive quarter in which consumer spending has increased year-over-year. The end of 2014 saw a 3.84 per cent increase in spending, breaking an unprecedented nine-month flat streak.
The increase is trending upwards: 5.10 per cent in January; 5.51 per cent in February; and 6.70 per cent in March. In the first three months of this year, Canadians spent 12.86 per cent more at glass, paint and wallpaper stores and 11.33 per cent more at drapery, window covering and upholstery stores, boosting spending in the household category to a year-over-year increase of 7.23 percent, according to the Moneris scorecard.
Spending in restaurants was up 6.82 per cent with fast food seeing the highest growth (10.90 per cent) followed by bars and pubs (7.84 per cent).
Stores specializing in shoes and women’s accessories were big winners, with increases of 9.32 per cent and 7.27 per cent respectively. Pet stores also posted 7.04 per cent growth. Men’s clothing and family clothing experienced gains of 3.45 per cent and 4.25 per cent, respectively.
The entertainment category posted the lowest growth (0.82 per cent), including categories such as tourist attractions, movie theatres and recreation services. British Columbia led the way with an 8.93 per cent increase, with Nova Scotia posting the smallest increase, a modest 0.40 per cent gain. Ontario fell in the middle, reflecting the national average with a 5.9 increase.
Moneris’s quarterly report is based on analysis of credit and debit card transaction data from sales at merchants who utilize their payment processor.