PayPal’s new survey released Tuesday offers a bit of insight into some of the ways the pandemic has affected people’s spending habits.
The Generosity and Giving 2021 survey which consisted of 1,500 people polled in November found that 58 per cent of Canadians plan to only celebrate with guests who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Nearly 9 per cent say they plan to ask their guests to take a COVID-19 test before arriving, regardless of their vaccination status. One in five, or 21 per cent, feel anxious about hosting guests during the holidays because of health concerns.
Despite the financial toll felt by many during the global pandemic, the survey indicates Canadians are still feeling generous. Eighty per cent of respondents said they felt motivated to support charitable causes. Nearly a third of Canadians said they supported mental health related charities, 27 per cent have supported causes related to homelessness and 21 per cent had contributed to children’s health charities.
“There is a very reliable link between happiness and donating to charity. It’s what scientists call a bi-directional relationship,” said Dr. Elizabeth Dunn, a psychology professor at the University of British Columbia. “People who are in a positive mood or are generally happy individuals who are more inclined to give. And giving to others causes an increase in happiness. So, there’s a virtuous cycle here.”
According to the survey, respondents gave an average of $142.09 to their charities of choice. The survey found men were more generous than women on average, giving $164 compared to the women’s $136 to causes. People in the west coast were the most generous. PayPal said British Columbians donated $152 compared to their counterparts in Ontario who gave $147 over the last year.
“From collecting money for grocery deliveries to fundraising campaigns in support of teachers and frontline workers, we’ve seen an outpouring of generosity from the PayPal community using our platform to help one another in the last two years,” PayPal spokesperson Malini Mitra told the Star in an email.
However, PayPal notes that COVID-19 has taken a financial toll on charitable giving. Nearly four out of ten people, or 38 per cent, said financial concerns have held them back from being more generous with their money, time, and items in the past year.
COVID-19 has undeniably shaped how Canadians are shopping as well. While many retailers saw online sales skyrocket and pivoted successfully in order to accommodate the influx of new virtual customers, this time last year saw many small businesses pleading for customers to “shop local” in an attempt to stay afloat amidst lockdowns. People had turned to online shopping not just for convenience but as a means of comfort during the difficult months over the last two years. The research reveals more than half of Canadians, 65 per cent, agree that the COVID-19 pandemic has permanently changed their holiday shopping habits.
The survey found more than half (55 per cent) said they plan to shop online more, compared to only 37 per cent that said they would shop in stores but only during off-peak hours to avoid crowds.
Many Canadians already have a head start on their shopping this year, one in five (19 per cent) have completed most of their holiday shopping, 36 per cent say they will wrap up shopping by the end of November, and 80 per cent hope to finish by the second week of December.
“Giving to others is especially likely to boost happiness when people feel a strong sense of connection with the people or cause they are helping — and a sense of connection is something we all need during this festive season, after the long pandemic,” said Dunn.