Skip to content

Consumer Spending

Spending data from Moneris based on credit and debit transaction volume processed by Moneris merchants

Consumer Spending Data Powered by Moneris Data Services:

Storekeeper handing shopping bag to customer

Highlights as of April 2022:

  • The spread of COVID-19 and the associated public health restrictions led to noticeable changes in consumer spending patterns.
  • In-person spending declined by at least 50% in all employment areas or Business Districts across the Innovation Corridor during the initial lockdown. Each consequent wave of the pandemic led to periods of declines and recovery in in-person spending. As of April 2022, in-person spending is at its highest level since the start of the pandemic across all Business Districts and above 2019 levels for all Business Districts except the Metropolitan Centre (MC).
  • Businesses in the MC saw the most severe reduction in in-person sales, falling close to 90% below 2019 levels during the start of the pandemic. Since then, however, in-person sales have rebounded strongly; as of April 2022 spending was only 20% below 2019 levels. 
  • E-commerce sales boomed during the pandemic, growing more than 50% relative to 2019 levels throughout periods in 2021 for businesses set up in the Goods Production and Distribution District (GPDD) and the Services and Mixed-Use District (SMUD). Growth in e-commerce sales has since slowed. Retail e-commerce sales in Canada reached as high as 11% of total retail sales in April 2020, but has averaged 6.4% between September 2021 and February 2022. (Exhibit 1) While notably larger than the pre-pandemic trend (average of 3.3% between January 2018 and January 2020), it is lower than the peaks seen through the pandemic.
  • In all Business Districts, except the SMUD, travel and entertainment (T&E) was by far the worst performing in-person spending category through most of the pandemic. Since the start of 2022, the gap between T&E and services related spending has been reduced significantly. 
  • With the exception of the Metropolitan Centre, retail has been the best performing in-person spending category and has exceeded 2019 levels through much of the pandemic. 


Exhibits and Charts

Exhibit 1: E-Commerce Penetration (% of Total Retail Sales), Canada

Spending In Person

Retail e-commerce sales in Canada reached as high as 11% of total retail sales in April 2020, but has averaged 6.4% between September 2021 and February 2022.


In-person spending declined by at least 50% in all Business Districts during the initial lockdown. As of April 2022, in-person spending is above 2019 levels for all Business Districts except the Metropolitan Centre.


E-commerce sales boomed during the pandemic, growing more than 50% relative to 2019 levels throughout periods in 2021 for businesses set up in the Goods Production and Distribution District and the Services and Mixed-Use District. Growth in e-commerce sales has since slowed


In-person consumer spending in the Metropolitan Centre dropped below pre-pandemic levels across all spending categories. The pandemic had the strongest impact on spending related to travel & entertainment.


In-person consumer spending in the Goods Production and Distribution District dropped below pre-pandemic levels for spending related to services and travel & entertainment.


In-person consumer spending in the Services and Mixed District dropped below pre-pandemic levels for spending related to services and travel & entertainment.


The negative impact of the pandemic in the Regional Centres was especially pronounced for in-person consumer spending related to travel & entertainment.