Survey Trends

Winter 2003 CSANews Issue 49  |  Posted date : May 02, 2007.Back to list

One thousand three hundred and eighteen snowbirds took the time to complete the eight page survey in our recent CSANews. They ripped it out of the magazine, filled it in, wrote lots of interesting comments, found an envelope and then put their own stamp on it before sending the survey to us for tabulation.

As could be expected, we are a little older, we have a little more money to spend and we are travelling a little longer, than in previous years. The increase in the Canadian dollar has certainly helped to improve our chosen lifestyle.

It appears that some single snowbirds are finding new partners as the percentage responses to the marital status question show that more snowbirds are now married. Walking for exercise has increased dramatically and so has reading. Smaller increases in physical activity also appear for golf, tennis, swimming, and most other active lifestyle pursuits. Another dramatic increase was found in the use of the Internet, which jumped by over 50 per cent, while computer ownership increased by approximately 7 per cent.

Generally, snowbirds are living even more active lifestyles than in previous years; they are participating in more "sporting" activities, exercising more, and shopping, which is really an exercise in disguise, is on the rise. Increased access to information and personal communications (via e-mail) has been the result of our fast-moving technological progress and snowbirds are taking advantage of these new opportunities. Our survey implies that we are making much better use of our time, in almost every area.

Travel is on the increase! We are taking many more side trips, especially in Canada, and our long term trips are gradually increasing in length. There is also a decided trend to travel to more exotic places as a winter destination; Europe, the South Pacific, Mexico and the Caribbean are all trending higher. One slightly disturbing statistic is that snowbirds are driving from Canada to the Southern US, in record time. Many more people are taking only one or two days on the road, rather than the normal three to four days and longer. You should take more time to smell the roses; take little side trips to interesting places, stop for a show or special event, have a romantic dinner at a quaint little inn; the choices are endless. A leisurely drive is a safer drive.

Technology acceptance is showing in the increasing use of ATM's, on-line banking and bill paying. We forgot to ask about the use of on-line discount brokers for your investments, but I assume that their use is also trending higher. The amount of stock and mutual fund information on the Internet is staggering. Informed and unbiased opinions are readily available but there are also many charlatans posting self-serving information. Know who is giving you the advice and find three or four websites that you can rely on for timely and unbiased financial information. The investment results, using proper research, can be quite amazing.

The very low utilization of credit cards that provide frequent flyer points (or miles) never ceases to amaze me. This has remained at constant low levels over several of our surveys. Perhaps people think they must fly to earn frequent flyer points, but this is not true. Personally, I use this type of credit card for everything I buy. Some banks will also give you points for taking out a mortgage and for using many of their other services. They also "sell" points to corporate partners who then give them out if you buy or use their services and products. Even the purchase of groceries can earn frequent flyer points. This is a simple and effective way to, over time, earn a pair of first class tickets to Europe or a weekend getaway to your favourite haunt. Ask your bank what frequent flyer credit card they have available, and also ask how you can earn lots of points with it.

The trends in insurance are very similar to last year. Medipac is gaining more and more market share and snowbirds are making their purchase decisions earlier. The primary reason for buying a particular plan is still based on cost but an increasing number of snowbirds are buying based on claim service and quality of care. A comprehensive insurance policy is still firmly entrenched in second place, after cost, and this has been consistent over the years.

Your answers to questions regarding CSANews content shows that you are voracious and happy readers. We will use your many comments and suggestions to fine-tune our publication and also to improve the CSA's benefits and services.

I am honoured to say "Thank You for Completing our Survey", one thousand three hundred and eighteen times; and a special thank you to all the spouses who obviously assisted with the information.