Press Release

New Mastercard Study Reveals Motivational Shift in Canadian Consumers’ Shopping Behaviour This Holiday Season

November 18, 2020 | Toronto
  • More than three-quarters (78 per cent) of Canadians say they plan to be more conscious of where they shop this holiday season.
  • A brand’s alignment with personal values is important for consumers, with 72 per cent planning to primarily shop from brands that share their values.
  • Contactless shopping will continue to be in high demand as nearly three quarters (73 per cent) are planning to do their holiday shopping at stores that have contactless payment options.


As COVID-19 continues to transform the retail landscape, this holiday shopping season is shaping up to be like none other. In the wake of the pandemic, Canadian shoppers are prioritizing support of local businesses – an act that will be carried forward into the holiday season. According to a new survey from Mastercard, 78 per cent of Canadians participating in the holiday shopping season plan to make a conscious effort to be more mindful in where and how they shop. Specifically, more than three-quarters (79 per cent) of consumers intend to support small, minority-owned (67 per cent), women-owned (68 per cent), and Black-owned businesses (66 per cent) this year.

This mindset is further reflected in the brands Canadian consumers are prioritizing, with 80 per cent planning to shop from local brands and 67 per cent intending to purchase from direct-to-consumer brands. In fact, 87 per cent of shoppers say they plan to shop at businesses they know and trust this year. One item that is not on shoppers’ wish lists this year is gifts from companies that don’t share their values, with 72 per cent planning to primarily shop from brands that align with their personal values.

Despite the uncertain climate, Canadian shoppers are embracing the holiday season and getting a head start. The survey found that 75 per cent of Canadians are aiming start shopping before Cyber Monday this year, with the vast majority (78 per cent) saying they are likely to shop online.

Additional findings from the new Mastercard study show:

  • In-store versus online: Although online shopping has increasingly become the preferred way for consumers to shop, two-thirds (68 per cent) still plan to shop in stores at some point this season. In-store visits however will be drastically reduced, with more than half (55 per cent) of Canadians anticipating conducting less in-store shopping this year.
  • Desire for contactless: For those willing to go in-store, contactless shopping experiences will be in high demand. In fact, almost three quarters (73 per cent) are planning to do their holiday shopping at stores that have contactless pay options for a safe, convenient and touch-free experience.
  • Changing traditions: Though it will look different, nearly half (45 per cent) of Canadian shoppers are leaning into this unique holiday season as a chance to update their old traditions. The majority (72 per cent) of consumers say they are looking forward to having a slower paced holiday season this year.
  • Gift giving reimagined: There will also be a shift in gift giving, with 64 per cent of respondents opting to not give cash as a gift in favour of gift cards, and nearly half (48 per cent) saying they plan to ship more gifts to their loved ones’ houses this year to avoid person-to-person contact.

“There’s no denying that holiday shopping will look and feel a lot different this year, especially as consumers are shopping with a new perspective and priorities,” said Sukhmani Dev, VP of Digital & Cybersecurity Solutions at Mastercard in Canada. “Canadians are embracing the holiday season this year with a strong desire to support local businesses and safety top of mind.”

Earlier this year, Mastercard enabled the increase of contactless payment limits to $250 across Canada to provide consumers with safer ways to pay.

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within Canada by The Harris Poll on behalf of Mastercard from October 14-21, 2020 among 2,030 Canadian residents. Respondents were screened for credit card use.

About Mastercard (NYSE: MA)

Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. Our decency quotient, or DQ, drives our culture and everything we do inside and outside of our company. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all.

www.mastercard.com