TORONTO - A new study says men are more likely than women to hit the stores on this country's biggest shopping day of the year — Boxing Day.
And overall, the survey released Tuesday by the Bank of Montreal found that 62 per cent of Canadians plan to shop on Dec. 26.
The 2012 BMO Holiday Spending Outlook, conducted for the bank by Pollara, found that Alberta, Atlantic Canada and Ontario were expected to see the most spending activity on Boxing Day — 76, 72 and 69 per cent respectively.
Quebec was expected to see the least at 36 per cent.
Of those polled, about one in five or 22 per cent planned to shop for themselves, while another third expected to spend on items for both themselves and others.
And men — by a margin of 66 to 58 per cent — were found more likely than woman to be planning to take advantage of Boxing Day sales.
"Boxing Day is treated by many as a shopping holiday in Canada and is as big as Black Friday in the U.S.," Su McVey, vice-president, BMO Bank of Montreal (TSX:BMO), said in a commentary accompanying the report.
"Given that the majority of Canadians plan to spend during this period, it's essential that Boxing Day spending is accounted for in the overall household holiday spending budget and not treated as a financial afterthought."
McVey added that three in 10 Canadians said they had set a fixed budget for their holiday spending, while almost half (47 per cent) had a loose or flexible budget.
But more than two in 10 (21 per cent) admitted to not having set holiday shopping budget at all.
In order to stretch holiday shopping dollars a little further, the bank offered a number of tips, including creating a list of must-haves and suggested setting spending limits to avoid getting swept away in a post-holiday frenzy.
It also suggested shoppers think about getting a head start, since many retailers will begin their Boxing Day sales early, and to take advantage of loyalty reward programs.
Meanwhile, BMO says Canadians plan to spend an average of $1,610 on the holidays this year.
Overall, BMO Economics projects Canadian holiday retail sales receipts, excluding auto and gasoline sales, will be almost $60 billion.
That would be an increase of between one and two per cent, or $600 million and $1.2 billion compared with the November to December sales period last year.
"While the projections for year-over-year increases in holiday sales are modest, it should still be viewed as positive for retailers in Canada, and is certainly well above levels seen during the recent economic downturn of 2008," said Doug Porter, the bank's deputy chief economist.
The results were compiled in a survey conducted by Pollara between Oct. 11 and Oct. 16 involving a random sample of 1,000 Canadians 18 years of age and older. It says a sample of this size would yield results accurate to within plus or minus 3.1 percentage points 19 times out of 20.