Canada’s impulse spending problem

21 Sept 2018

Shopping in the digital age means we now have more places to shop than ever before. However, with this greater amount of choice brings the possibility of spending more than we initially intended – or can afford.

In June 2018, Finder Canada conducted a study of 2,000 Canadian adults with global research provider OnePoll to learn more about Canada’s shopping habits. According to the Finder Canada survey, 63% of Canadians have succumbed to impulsively shopping in the last year, with each person spending around $73.81 on average. That equates to a whopping $8.8 billion spend.

Key Statistics

How much do we impulse spend?

The biggest proportion of impulse shoppers (23%) spends $30 on average per purchase. This is followed by an average spend of $50, with 18% of shoppers spending this amount. When it comes to bigger purchases of $500 or more, only 1.4% of shoppers spend this amount when they impulsively shop.

In terms of generation, baby boomers spent the least, with an average spend of just $63.86. Despite constant flack for overspending on brunches and avocado toast, millennials were surprisingly not the worst culprits overall, with an average spend of $77.02. The biggest impulse spenders come from Gen X, with a slightly higher average spend of $80.07.

Average amount spent by Generation

How often do we impulse spend?

The majority of impulse shoppers only make spontaneous purchases 1-3 times per year (43%). However, some people have a more serious problem, with 1% of shoppers admitting to impulsive spending at least once per week. On average, Canadians are impulsive shopping six times per year – that’s around once every two months (which is more frequent than the change of seasons!).

Interestingly, Canadians in some areas of the country are more likely to impulsively spend than others. The Prairie Provinces are home to the most impulsive shoppers, with people from this region impulsively shopping just over seven times per year. Canadians from the West Coast are the most conservative shoppers, with people from this side of the country only falling prey to impulsive shopping five times per year.


It might not come as a surprise that women are more likely to impulsively shop than men, with 69% of women and just 56% of men shopping on impulse – a difference of 13%.

However, while men are less likely to impulsively shop, when they do splash out, they spend more. The Finder Canada study found that men tend to spend more than women, with an average spend of $80.46 compared to women’s slight spend of $69.27 – a difference of around $11.

Impulsive shopping statistics by Gender

How does Canada’s impulse shopping compare to the US?

In the US, a whopping 89% of American adults have succumbed to impulsive online shopping, with each person spending on average $105.55 (US$81.75) per session. That equates to a whopping $23.09 billion (US$17.78 billion) dollar spend – over $10 billion more than Canadian’s impulsive shopping spend.

For more information on America’s impulsive spending problem, check out these statistics on how much they’re spending (and the experience of regret that follows!).

How can we stop our impulse shopping habit?

With the change of seasons in full swing, summer collections are going on sale, and the new Fall coats are going on display. For those feeling more tempted than usual to impulsively shop, there is a saving grace.

Icebox is an innovative and easy to use tool that can help curb the urge to shop. Developed and released by, the free Google chrome plug-in works by placing the items in your digital shopping basket on freeze, giving you time to mull over your purchases before you hand over your hard earned money. Beat impulse shopping by installing Icebox today!


This data is from a survey of 2,000 Canadian adults commissioned by and conducted by OnePoll in June 2018. Due to not having enough respondents, the North region (Nunavut, Northwest Territories, Yukon Territory) was not included.
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