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Purchasing power

Purchasing power: profile of the 8 major Canadian CMAs

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CMA of Québec City: Growth of revenue and consumption indicators

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Average salary

In 2016, the average salary in the Québec City CMA was $44,404 ($42,835 in Québec). According to the Conference Board of Canada, this represents a 1.9% increase from 2015 (+2.7% across the province). This brings the average increase up to 2.9% annually over the past 5 years, exceeding the province of Québec’s 2.2% increase. The persistent need for workers in knowledge economy sectors as well as the high employment rate are contributing to the average salary increase in Québec City. These factors are expected to remain relevant over the next five years, leading to an average annual increase of approximately 2%. This is on par with the anticipated growth rates for other major Canadian metropolitan areas.

Inflation rate

The consumer basket price in the Québec City CMA experienced a moderate increase; the same is true for the rest of Quebec. In 2016, the inflation rate in the CMA was 0.6%, compared to Québec’s 0.7%. Most sectors observed increases, particularly the food products, lodging and clothing industries. Due to the devaluation of the Canadian dollar, the price of some imported goods may increase in 2017. However, the stabilization of lodging prices may counteract the issue. As a result, the area’s inflation rate is expected to stay within the Bank of Canada’s inflation – control target: approximately 2% per year for the next five years.

Personal disposable income

The CMA remains a leader in the province, with a per-capita personal disposable income (PDI) of $36,128 ($27,893 in the province of Quebec). This represents a 2.3% increase compared to 2015 (+3.8% in the province). The PDI increase is greater than that of the inflation rate, meaning that household purchasing power is maintained. Furthermore, with an average growth of 3.3% between 2011 and 2016, the Québec City area is one of the most successful regions in Eastern Canada. In the long term, increased employment income, dividend yield and transfer payments will allow this trend to continue. In fact, projections estimate Québec City’s per-capita PDI to increase by an average of 2.6% per year until 2021 (+2.5% in Québec).

Retail sales

In 2016, retail sales in the CMA totalled $14.2 billion, a 1.9% increase from 2015 (+4.5% in Quebec). This growth is supporting various expansion and modernization projects for commercial facilities and paving the way for new players to move into Québec City. Additionally, retailers are increasingly relying on the digital shift, allowing them to compete in a market where e-commerce is the norm. In the long term, these initiatives, combined with job growth, demographics and household income, will allow the sector to continue flourishing. The Conference Board of Canada estimates that retail sales should increase by an average of 2.3% per year until 2021, mirroring the performance of the past five years.


According to the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy, the Québec City CMA registered 2,065 bankruptcies in 2016, four more than in 2015. This represents an 0.2% increase. Like many other areas in the province, the city registered its highest number of bankruptcies in 10 years. Despite the generally favourable economic climate—increased income, low inflation and interest rates—consumers’ financial health seems to be struggling. This is unusual for the area, and we are confident that it is only a passing trend. An improvement in household bankruptcy filing could help to correct the situation. Only 1,919 people submitted their filing in 2016, 7 fewer than the previous year (-0.4%). As for businesses, the area registered 146 business bankruptcies (11 more than in 2015, or +8.1%). The markets’ ability to adapt and continue their development will remain assets for rebalancing the financial performance of local businesses.

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