The past year has given way to unprecedented times. It has been marred with tragedies, devastation and reflection on things considered the norm. Problems that existed before the pandemic have only been intensified further. Canadians have had to grapple with many plights. None more relatable than financial constraints, that have become too familiar at a time when personal finances have deteriorated.
The pandemic has increased the curiosity of Canadians in record numbers. Canadian searches for financial literacy have risen considerably. Specifically in regards to savings and investing. The graph below provides relevant insight.
When the pandemic first hit in March 2020, queries for savings across Canada hit a high with 261 searches. This indicates that many Canadians were uncertain about their savings and had to educate themselves via the internet to fully understand the scope of their savings. In the second half of the year, the searches remained consistent. In July and October when the Federal Government rolled out the Emergency Response Benefit, Canadians took full advantage of the program and household savings increased dramatically. This led to queries on savings to remain firm over the duration of the pandemic. While first searches on savings were focused on surviving the pandemic, in the latter half the focus shifted to capitalizing on the savings.
As resources on personal finances grow, so does the interest. Websites and apps have empowered Canadians to utilize the web in accordance to investing. Similar to savings, investing started off extremely hot with 114 searches in March 2020. Investing searches have remained steady throughout the year, suggesting that Canadians have turned to modern methods to combat the pandemic. Recent investment searches in January 2021 reached a record high with 178 searches. This can be attributed to the rise of the everyday investor due to the online forum. The savings that Canadians have made directly resulted in their frequent investing activity. It was a steady climb that paid dividends for those who were looking to enhance their financial position through an industry that has no barriers. While it has been established the prominence of savings and investing in Canada during the pandemic, it would be pertinent to see which regions best exemplify this.
Searches for savings varied across Canada as illustrated by the Choropleth map. There is a pattern though.
The have nots which historically consist of the Canadian territories led the way for searches in savings, followed closely by the Atlantic region. This shows that tensions around savings were heightened in Canadian regions which are not economically flourishing. In contrast to savings, investment searches paint another picture.
Investment searches stayed consistent through the pandemic. Quebec led the way followed by Saskatchewan and Ontario. While one would expect Quebec and Ontario to be at the forefront, Saskatchewan was unexpected, as many thought Alberta would be there to round out the top 3.
Searches can be quite insightful tools to establish and discover trends. Only when one applies the knowledge learned from Searches can they truly change the world.