With COVID keeping Canadians closer to home this summer, sales of recreational vehicles, sporting equipment and home hardware items have soared, according to Statistics Canada data released Oct. 13.
The ‘staycation’ concept advocated by the tourism sector seems to have paid off as consumers had higher than normal spending on products to be enjoyed outdoors.
Spending on recreational vehicles was up 47.3% for July compared with July 2019; sporting and leisure categories were up 29.8%.
Leading the increase in the categories were new recreational boats (up 58.2%), new motorhomes, travel trailers and truck campers (up 47.4%) and hunting, fishing and camping equipment (up 40.2%).
Canadians were spending more around the home as well. Hardware and renovation supplies were up 83.3%, major home appliances up 20.2% and small home appliances up 41.3%.
National retail sales reached $57.2 billion dollars in July, up 4.8% compared with July 2019, Statistics Canada reported.
The national agency said the increase marked the second consecutive increase in year-over-year sales for the sector, with sales reported in 12 of the 19 commodity categories monitored.
The agency said advance estimates for August provided by the Monthly Retail Trade Survey suggest unadjusted total retail sales increased by 1.7%. The agency cautioned the figure is preliminary and subject to revision.
StatsCan said Canadians’ new habit of eating at home has persisted for the fifth consecutive month with sales of food showing the largest year-over-year with an increase at 12.1%.
And, food and beverage sales accounted for just over one-quarter (25.9%) of all retail receipts in July, up from 24.1% in July 2019. But, while those sales continue to represent a larger than average market share, that share declined considerably from the record high seen in April (38.0%).
The product sector’s largest gains were seen in:
• fresh fruit and vegetables (+14.5%);
• fresh meat and poultry (+14.7%); and
• eggs and dairy products (+14.4%).
Beverage sales were up 14.8%, led by alcohol, up 14.3% from a year earlier.
But, as people stayed home, sales of automotive and household fuels represented the sector’s largest decline, down 22.4%.
The agency said the decline was primarily due to automotive fuels, with sales at the pump down $1.1 billion on a year-over-year basis.
And, while some consumer spending has begun a rebound, motor vehicle sales continued to lag in July, down 1.3% from a year prior.
It was new vehicle sales holding back the category, with sales decreasing 4.9%. This was the fifth straight month of negative growth in this category.
Consumers continued to look for deals in the used car market, which saw its second consecutive month of positive growth, up 13.1% in June and 4.6% in July.