Back to school means local shopping for most Canadians
Canadians plan to spend more on back to school shopping compared to last year 46 per cent plan to do their shopping at local retailers, according to a new study from BMO Bank of Montreal.
“For many retail businesses, the back to school shopping season is the second most important sales period in the year,” says BMO Commercial Banking Vice-President Cathy Pin. “It is also a great opportunity for shoppers to support their local businesses when buying the necessities to get the school year off on the right foot.”
According to the survey, conducted by Pollara, 54 per cent of Canadians will be back to school shopping this year, with shoppers expecting to spend an
average of $362, up from $319 in 2011 (a 13 per cent increase).
The survey found that on a per-person basis, Canadians expect to spend:
- $164 per child in Kindergarten/Elementary school
- $171 per child in Junior/High school
- $213 per child in Post-Secondary/University
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Regionally, for the second straight year, Quebecers plan to spend the most on back-to-school shopping ($421), followed by Atlantic Canadians and
British Columbia ($397). Once again, those on the Prairies plan to spend the least ($200).
The survey also found that the majority of Canadians plan to look at multiple sources for back-to-school shopping, with 85 per cent saying they will make purchases at big box stores, 46 per cent at local/independent retailers, and 26 per cent online. Albertans are the most likely (90 per cent) to buy at big box stores, with British Columbians the most likely to shop at smaller businesses (66 per cent). Ontarians are most likely to shop online (34 per cent).
“Canadian consumer spending has slowed, and is on pace for sub-2% growth through the third quarter after expanding 2.4% in 2011,” says BMO Capital Markets Economist Robert Kavcic. “Continued low interest rates will provide support, but shaky confidence could weigh on the back-to-school shopping season.”
According to the study, Canadian consumers are definitely looking to save money this back-to-school shopping season, with 96 per cent planning to make efforts to limit their spending. The most common strategies include looking for deals and using coupons (65 per cent), comparing prices at different stores (64 per cent), re-use supplies from last year (55 per cent), and only buy what is essential (50 per cent).
By comparison, shoppers are less likely to employ strategies such as:
- Saying ‘NO’ to children on trendy or expensive items – 32 per cent
- Setting a firm budget – 29 per cent
- Using ‘hand-me-downs’ from other family members – 17 per cent