Quebecers are being frugal amid the COVID-19 pandemic: survey

As Quebec slowly lifts its quarantine, researchers are looking at how the forced break has affected peoples’ consumption habits.

Public health orders to limit the COVID-19 virus have changed routines, but also finances among Quebecers, who appear to be spending less, according to “Conso COVID-19,” a project designed to track consumption patterns amid the pandemic. 

Observations released on Monday by l’Université de Québec à Montréal (UQAM) indicate that two thirds of Quebecers were more careful with their expenses during the first month of the crisis, and more than half took the time to compare prices between products and businesses from March 15 to April 15. 

Results were gathered using an online survey carried out by the firm MBA Recherche and received responses from 1,000 adult Quebecers. The survey showed a tendency among consumers to push big purchases like vehicles and vacations to later.  

“We feel that most citizens are in waiting mode: ‘I think, I save, because I don't know exactly what's going to happen’,” said Fabien Durif, the director of the UQAM program overseeing the project. Through the surveys, L’Observatoire de la consummation responsable also noticed financial insecurity among younger Quebecers, notably students and single people, who live with high levels of anxiety. 

Overall, 23 per cent of respondents showed concern about being able to pay for their monthly expenses. 

The survey also indicated a recent tendency to slow down, especially among women and couples: 73.3 per cent of respondents said they’re trying to take time to enjoy the simple things. 

The observations noted an uptick in popularity when it comes to homemade and do-it-yourself projects: 36.9 per cent of respondents took advantage of quarantine to learn to make things themselves using online tutorials. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on May 4, 2020. 

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