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Google Reveals Canadians' Saving Habits looked at five banking-related keyword categories in an effort to better understand how Canadians save money.


The five keyword categories are: Savings, chequing, RRSP, TFSA, and GICs. For each category, we used SEMRush to determine the top five non-branded keywords based on search volume. Depending on volume (and for clarity), some keywords were removed as those within the same category follow the same trajectory. This was determined as the keywords were added to Google Trends and examined on a 12-month and five-year basis. The following keywords are displayed on the graphs below:


Over the past five years, search volume spikes dramatically and consistently two weeks prior to the annual RRSP contribution deadline.


TFSA searches tend to peak at the end of December and into early January as people prepare their financial resolutions for the new year. Having a TFSA plays a big role in anyone’s financial plan. Notably, there was a large spike in search volume when the Canadian government increased the annual contribution limit to $10,000 in 2015. The extensive news coverage, combined with the confusion around this limit change and how that would affect current and prospective TFSA account holders, increased awareness around TFSAs. However, the limit was decreased back to $5,500 starting in 2016.


It’s interesting to compare TFSAs and RRSPs, as both of these investment vehicles act as tax shelters, just in different ways. At their peaks, there are 180% more searches for “RRSP” than “TFSA.” And despite the fact that people appear to be researching and planning for the year in January when the search for “TFSA” spikes, the same cannot be said for “RRSP,” where search volume spikes at the end of February.


GIC-related searches have increased 13% over the last five years. The opportunity to comparison shop online and the ability to buy a GIC online are potential reasons for the positive trend. It’s also worth noting that searches for GICs spike in late February, around the same time as RRSP searches. It’s possible these are linked since a GIC can be placed inside an RRSP. In July, there were minor spikes at the time of the latest Bank of Canada interest rate announcement, which indicates people are interested in knowing the relationship between GIC rates and the Bank of Canada interest rate.


When looking at the savings keyword group, one notable trend emerges. Based on our data, all savings-related keywords peak at the end of every month. Potential reasoning for this trend could be that people start their monthly financial planning at the end of the month, or because they’re reviewing the previous month’s spending and realizing they need to adjust to meet their financial goals.


The chequing keyword group is particularly interesting. Based on our analysis, search volume for chequing-related keywords is up 150% compared to five years ago. The increase in search volume has coincided with the diversification of providers (i.e. digital banks) and the rise of no-fee account offerings. It appears that Canadians are becoming increasingly aware of the money they can save monthly getting a chequing account from a different provider.

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