B.C. debit- and credit-card spending up more than 4% year-over-year: Moneris

Spending via credit and debit cards in B.C. increased in Q1 2017 | Shutterstock

British Columbians were some of the biggest spenders in Canada in 2017’s first quarter, according to new Moneris data, which looks at debit- and credit-card purchases.

Spending in the province increased 4.3% year-over-year, which is more than 22% higher than the national average increase of 3.5% over the same period. This puts B.C. in third place nationwide in terms of increases, with the biggest jumps found in Quebec (up 5.5%) and New Brunswick (up 4.6%).

Canada-wide, spending by those with foreign debit- and credit-cards increased more than 6%, which Moneris said is because the low Canadian dollar is attracting foreign tourists. American visitors were the top non-Canadian spenders, followed byChina and Australia. Consistent with this finding, the biggest increase in B.C. was found in the hotel sector, which saw growth of almost 9%, followed by restaurants (7.4%).

Other sectors in B.C. with large increases were alcohol (up 3.6%) and household spending (up 3.2%). The only sector to see a decline was groceries (down 0.5%).

Spending growth across Canada has been slowing for the past several quarters, Moneris said, which could indicate 2017 will see overall spending moderating when compared with the previous two years.

"As anticipated, spend rates are continuing to climb, but at a more modest level than in previous quarters," said Angela Brown, Moneris president and CEO. "Given global transitions in government that could impact the economy at home, it's no surprise that Canadians are keeping an eye on how they're spending.

“We don't expect to see any drastic deviations from this trend over the next few quarters."