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Alberta consumers outspent other Canadians by $10,000 in 2013Friday, January 23, 2015 > 09:25:00
Alberta households led the country in average spending on goods and services, with expenditures that were more than $10,000 more than any other province, according to Statistics Canada.
The federal agency reported Thursday that spending in the province averaged $71,429. British Columbia was the second highest spending province at $61,007, followed by Ontario ($60,718). Canadian households spent an average of $58,592 on goods and services in 2013, up 4.1 per cent from 2012, StatsCan said.
In Alberta, spending on shelter accounted for 27.3 per cent of total expenditures by transportation (21.5 per cent), food (13 per cent) and clothing and accessories (6.5 per cent).
Shelter is comprised of rent, mortgage payments, repairs and maintenance costs, property taxes and utilities.
Bruce Alger, senior vice-president in Calgary with Grant Thornton, an accounting, business advisory, and risk management firm, said now is the time more than ever for Albertans, with the highest debt in Canada, to have discipline and caution in terms of their expenses.
“Despite the fact that the Bank of Canada has reduced interest rates to stimulate the economy, i.e. spending, my reaction is I would be not wanting to take advantage of all those new offers out there or anything to be spending my money,” he said. “Now’s the time to sort of hunker down, understand where your money’s going and react accordingly and be very cautious before you take on any new obligations.”
He said news of the reduction in drilling activity in the province as well as the $23 billion drop in capital investment in the oil patch this year will translate into job losses.
“And the knock on effect not just from people directly involved in our industry but hospitality, real estate, construction, I mean, any discretionary spending is not even discretionary, if you don’t have it, you can’t spend it,” said Alger.
Nationally, spending on shelter accounted for 28.0 per cent of the total, followed by transportation (20.6 per cent) and food (13.6 per cent). Clothing and accessories was 6.1 per cent.
Statistics Canada said households in Alberta reported the highest average spending on shelter at $19,532.
It also said households in Alberta reported the highest average spending on food at $9,295.
In 2013, 20.4 per cent of households in Canada reported having only a cellphone and no land line, up from 15.7 per cent of households in 2012. Ownership of at least one cellphone was reported by 84.9 per cent of households, said the federal agency.
Cellphone ownership was highest in Alberta (90.1 per cent) and lowest in Quebec (78.4%). Home Internet access was reported by 83.9 per cent of Canadian households. Home Internet access was most prevalent in British Columbia (89.6 per cent) and Alberta (88.1 per cent), it said.