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COVID restrictions push many British Columbians to invest in outdoor rec

Last Updated Mar 16, 2021 at 10:17 am PDT

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Moneris says there was a spike in spending on things like bikes, pools, and other outdoor recreation last year

COVID-19 travel restrictions have forced many British Columbians to look at what their province has to offer

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Exploring closer to home is something British Columbians have embraced over the past year.

Looking at our spending habits, you can track how many people have handled the past 12 months. Last February through May shows a big drop in spending as we isolated at home, but individual purchases were larger as we stocked up on groceries and toilet paper.

Marta Rzeszowska with Moneris says the summer spend changed as people explored their regions and stuck closer to home because of travel restrictions.

“Throughout the year, the number one shopping trend was household goods, which basically held the number one spot in B.C. all throughout the year,” she explained, adding there was also an increase in interest around cycling.

“B.C. has the most cycling enthusiasts and it has the highest volumes in Canada — both in the summer and the fall,” she said.

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She says there was a 123-per cent increase in spending on bike sales and service.

However, cycling isn’t the only area that saw a boost.

“Boat dealers have gone up, things like golf courses have seen an increase — and that’s all the way through into the fall and winter, even,” Rzeszowska says.

There was also more interest in things like camping and pools — for which sales were up more than 50 per cent.

And since January, Rzeszowska says people have already been looking to buy, lease, or rent things like boats and RVs for the warmer months ahead.

“Consumers are preparing for the fact that come summer time of 2021, they’re likely going to be staying closer to home so they’re already spending money in preparation for that,” she explained.

Related articles: Outdoor gatherings of 10 now allowed in B.C, says Dr. Henry

Rzeszowska is encouraging people to support local businesses when they’re planning their summer purchases or rentals.

She recommends small businesses prepare too, noting they should try to reach out to consumers online.

“With all of the shopping trends, especially for those that are looking to stay closer to home, they’re looking online to be able to find you. So make sure that you have a website, you’re able to be found. Letting people know that you’re open for business and how to get a hold of you is critical right now,” Rzeszowska said.