Interac - Interac predicts holiday shopping to peak on December 23 – the busiest shopping day of the year

Interac® predicts holiday shopping to peak on December 23 – the busiest shopping day of the year

Canadians expected to spend over $1 billion on December 23


Toronto, Ontario (December 8, 2016) – With consumers dashing out to buy food, drinks and last-minute gifts for the holidays, December 23 is anticipated to be the busiest shopping day of the year, according to data released today by Interac Association/Acxsys Corporation (“Interac”).

According to Interac point-of-sale data, Canadians made over 21 million transactions and spent over $1 billion on December 23, 2015. This made it the busiest shopping day of the year for Interac, beating out December 24 and Black Friday (November 27) in total spend and transactions.

Of all purchases made on December 23, grocery stores ($217.6 million) were the most popular merchants, followed by discount retailers ($88.4 million) and stores selling beer, wine and liquor ($74.3 million).

According to a survey commissioned and released by Interac and conducted by Maru/Matchbox, 2016 is shaping up to be just as busy as 2015. One third of Canadians (31 per cent) said they will be shopping on December 23 – nearly the same number who said they will be working.

No surprise here: when it comes to holiday shopping, survey respondents said they dislike crowded stores and malls the most (69 per cent) followed by long lines at checkout (62 per cent). In fact, they said the single greatest thing that would make their lives easier would be to speed through the checkout line (60 per cent). Instead of fumbling for cash, shoppers can spend more time with family and friends by paying with Interac Flash at checkout. 

“Our recent data shows Canadians are embracing the speed and convenience of Interac Flash. For the month of November 2016, Interac Flash volumes have nearly doubled compared to the same period in 2015,” said Martin Ho, AVP of Product Management, Interac Association and Acxsys Corporation. “With the holidays nearly upon us, Canadians can rely on Interac Flash to speed through the busy checkout lines with ease.”

Canadians can plan for a merry January when they pay using Interac Debit and Interac Flash as they won’t incur debt from their purchases. They can pay for their purchases quickly and securely using money from their bank accounts. This is good news for the one third of respondents (33 per cent) who were concerned about overspending and the four out of ten (42 per cent) who felt financially squeezed during the holidays.

Busiest Shopping Day – 2015 vs. 2014

Period Total Number of Transactions Total Transaction Value
December 23, 2015 21.3 Million $1.1 Billion
December 23, 2014 19.7 Million $993.4 Million
GROWTH 8.2% 7.0%


Busiest Shopping Days – 2015

Period Total Number of Transactions Total Transaction Value
December 23, 2015 21.3 Million $1.1 Billion
December 24, 2015 19.8 Million $966.6 Million
November 27, 2015 19.8 Million $959.7 Million
All December 2015 473 Million $21.2 Billion

Additional Survey Findings

  • 93 per cent of Canadians say they celebrate the holidays.
  • Canadians are smart about developing shopping strategies: five in ten respondents to the survey said that they make lists before they go out shopping (52 per cent).
  • Half of respondents visit a mall for their holiday shopping with the goal to hit as many stores at once (48 per cent).
  • Half of Canadians go alone, so that they are not distracted and can accomplish their goals (50 per cent).
  • Canadians aren’t early birds. Only 11 per cent of respondents said they will arrive as the doors open.
  • While 59 per cent of respondents said they love to find that perfect gift for someone, a quarter (25 per cent) will also buy something for themselves.

About the Survey

From November 29-30, 2016 an online survey was conducted among 1,508 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to education, age, gender and region (and in Quebec, language) Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

About Interac Association and Acxsys Corporation

Together, Interac Association and Acxsys Corporation operate an economical, world-class debit payments system with broad-based acceptance, 24/7/365 reliability, security, and efficiency. The organization is Canada’s leading payments brand and is chosen an average of 16 million times daily to pay and exchange money. For more than 30 years, it has facilitated secure financial transactions through the development of innovative and convenient digital debit and money transfer solutions. A leader in the prevention and detection of fraud, the organization has one of the lowest rates of fraud globally. Visit or follow us @Interac.


Media Inquiries

Interac Association/Acxsys Corporation

(416) 869-2017

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