While economic concerns persist, Canadian retailers should expect to see a boost from back to school shoppers during the second busiest shopping season of the year, according to a new study released by the Bank of Montreal.
The report shows that two thirds of Canadians plan to spend more or the same on back to school shopping compared to last year and nearly two in five (36 per cent) plan to do their shopping at local retailers.
“For many retail businesses, the back to school shopping season is the second most important sales period in the year,” says Cathy Pin, BMO commercial banking vice-president. “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 track.”
According to the survey, commissioned by Leger Marketing, one third of Canadians plan to spend more than $200 on back to school purchases this year. On average, the total spent will be $319.
“Retails sales in Canada, excluding autos and gasoline, over the August and September period are expected to continue growing at a moderate rate of 2 per cent, similar to the pace this time last year,” says BMO Capital Markets Senior Economist Sal Guatieri. “Continued low interest rates will provide support, though concerns about the global economy will also weigh on the back to school shopping season.”
The survey also found the following:
- Only five per cent plan to do their back to school shopping online.
- Those in the Atlantic Provinces are more likely (61 per cent) than those in B.C. (33 per cent) to shop at big box stores.
- Consumers in Manitoba and Saskatchewan at 41 per cent, are the highest in Canada to cut spending.
- Consumers in Quebec plan to spend $500 or more than consumers in Ontario and Manitoba/Saskatchewan.
“If you’re planning to spend significant dollars during the back to school season, maximize the bang for your buck by shopping at retailers who offer rewards or participate in loyalty programs, such as the Air Miles Reward Program,” said Pin. “For instance, if you shop with a BMO Air Miles MasterCard you can double the number of reward miles you earn when you make purchases at participating Air Miles sponsors. It’s a smart way to save while you spend.”
BMO gives a breakdown of how much Canadians should expect to pay for some back to school items:
- Pens, pencils, lined paper, erasers, sticky notes, highlighters, notebooks, organizer and binders, $25 to $40
- Pair of jeans, 2 shirts, a sweater, pair of running shoes and 3 pairs of socks and undergarments, $210 to $260
- Backpack, pencil case and lunch bag, $35 to $50
- Magnets, lock, gym uniform and head phones, $25 to $40
- Calculator, laptop, printer and USB key (8GB), $800 to $1200
- Total budget, $1,095 to $1,590