Canadians spending on travel and services but cutting back onrestaurants, goods: RBC


TORONTO – RBC says Canadians are continuing to spend on holidays and non-essential services, but are cutting back on restaurants and goods.

The bank’s latest spending tracker report says while overall spending was steady in March, there were some signs of weakness in goods spending, mirroring a pullback in auto sales.

RBC economist Carrie Freestone says restaurant spending excluding price impacts fell by 0.6 per cent, on average, in the first quarter of 2023.

Consumer spending is one of several economic data points that has remained resilient despite persistent inflation and rising interest rates.

However, Freestone says in an email that RBC expects to see a more pronounced pullback in discretionary spending once the impact of the Bank of Canada’s interest rate hikes is fully felt.

RBC’s February report found Canadians were making fewer grocery store runs but still spending around the same amount per trip, while in March, the number of grocery transactions was flat.