Now that Halloween's over, Quebecers are turning their attention to the Christmas season — and with holidays come gifts. It's always a retail bonanza this time of year, but COVID-19 has made holiday shopping all the more stressful.

When should I start shopping? Where should I shop to ensure my delivery arrives on time? Should I support local businesses? What if they don't deliver and the store's too crowded? Will my loved ones be spending as much this year? 

The Conseil québécois du commerce de détail (CQCD) has released the results of a survey that provides insight into these types of questions.

You can use the information to see how you line up with other Quebecers, and you can also use the stats to your advantage to shop smarter this year.

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25%

Of Quebecers planned to start shopping on November 1

For example, a quarter of Quebecers surveyed said they were planning on starting holiday shopping on November 1.

That means many of us have already begun shopping. If you want to keep up, and avoid options that have been "picked over," you'll probably want to get started. 

Forty percent of Quebecers said they will spend less than last year, and stores remain the main source of purchases at 33.2%.

That said, the most respondents — 40.1% — planned on using a combination of both stores and the internet.

For those shopping online, 88.9% said they would be relying on delivery rather than picking up purchases in-store. This is another reason to shop early, as Canada Post is asking Canadians to do. 

Canada Post sent out a press release saying it was expecting "a Christmas season like no other" due to "the rapid escalation in demand for parcel delivery" caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The growth of online commerce will increase with 'Good Friday' and holiday shopping. The issue of delivery times will be crucial - hence the importance of buying early and, as much as possible, picking up in-store," said CQCD director Stéphane Drouin in a statement.

He added, "One of the rare pieces of good news resulting from the pandemic is that a very large number of Quebecers have become aware of the importance of buying locally and buying Quebec products." 

The survey says 61.8% of Quebecers are planning on favouring merchants in their own neighbourhoods, and 59.7% plan on favouring Quebec products. 

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