According to a recent survey by EY (Ernst & Young), Canadian holiday retail sales are expected to grow 4% over last year (2014).

Who, and what, will be driving the expected upsurge?

EY credits this to the Millennial generation, who tend to be more optimistic, more digital, and more loyal than any other generation of shoppers. 

"Retailers' wish for a more enthusiastic consumer may come true this holiday season. People are optimistic about the expected tax relief for the middle class, promised by the newly elected government," said Daniel Baer, EY partner and National Retail and Consumer Products Industry Leader.

With gas prices down about 19% year over year, new federal child tax payments that are more generous, and employment growth and consumer confidence remaining healthy - consumers may be a bit more in the spending spirit this upcoming holiday shopping season.

If Canadians are that optimistic about holiday sales, maybe you should add that charming 3-bedroom bungalow to your Christmas list.

The online and in-store experience will be important for Millennials, who are the offspring of Baby Boomer and Gen Z parents. According to the EY report ‘Redefining loyalty for retail’, Millennials would rather receive exclusive invitations to special events than discount offers. 

"Millennials seek experiences, fun and personalized indulgences, and they're willing to pay a premium for them," said Baer.  "But for purely functional items, millennials seek convenience, selection and low prices. Millennials are also social-media savvy and digitally connected, meaning the smartphone and tablet will be key interactive tools for retailers."

They’re also perfect for watching a walk-through video tour of that 4-bedroom detached brick home that just went up for sale in the neighbourhood you’ve been dying to move to.

While online sales will continue to grow, traditional retail channels continue to be relevant. Baer explains: "The fact remains that brick-and-mortar stores is where the vast majority of shopping takes place. Retailers need to adopt the right technologies and the right attitude to leverage their real estate if they want to delight consumers".

While retailers are leveraging their real estate to attract consumers, you could be browsing through your favourite home decor store for pieces that attract your attention and add that WOW! factor to your potential dream home.

Some 2015 holiday sales trends to watch for:

  • Canadian retailers will need to focus on promotions for American Black Friday, if they want shoppers to spend their limited discretionary budget on this side of the border, and use this day to drive December traffic.
  • British Columbia will lead Canadian retail sales.
  • Resources will drag results in Alberta and Saskatchewan to a slight year over year drop in sales.
  • Ontario sales gain will mirror the national average, as employment and exports strengthen.
  • Quebec sales will show little, if any, growth.
  • Sales in Atlantic Canada will be flat.

In terms of product popularity, Clothing, toys, electronics and gift cards will still remain top holiday gift-giving choices choices, but given Millennials' desire for experiences, more gift cards purchases will be directed towards restaurants and travel.

Have we mentioned that getting a new home for Christmas would be nice?