Overall back-to-school spending will be $323 this year, down from $428 in 2013, finds a BMO survey.
While more than half of Canadians (54%) plan to do some back-to-school shopping this year, reports BMO, that’s down from two-thirds in 2013. Those shopping for post-secondary students continue to lead the way with an average spend of $369 per child.
“Businesses in general are noticing a softening in overall sales this year, but are optimistic in their ability to adapt to a slower business environment,” says Doug Palmer, regional vice-president, Commercial Banking, GTA Division, BMO Bank of Montreal.
The report reveals that Atlantic Canada and Ontario lead the way with the percentage of people planning to shop (59% and 57%, respectively). Meanwhile, the Prairies and Quebec plan to spend the most on average ($445 and $419, respectively).
Shopping south of the border?
An economic outlook on the Canadian dollar revealed a 20% decrease in the number of Canadians travelling south of the border since the early 2013 peak of nearly 5 million per month.
“The lower loonie is likely to lead to more of that spending remaining in Canada and more U.S. visitors are arriving as well, which could provide some offsetting sales boost for retailers,” say Doug Porter, chief economist, BMO Financial Group.
The number of Canadians travelling to the U.S. was down 1.3% from May to 3.8 million, according to Statistics Canada,. Meanwhile, U.S. residents made 1.9 million trips to Canada in June, a 3.3% rise from May — the highest level in seven years.
Canadians look for thrifty ways to save
More than half (54%) will be looking for deals or using coupons, 50% plan to compare prices at different stores, and 45% will buy only what is absolutely essential. Further, 16% will shop more online.
Despite the move to be more spending-conscious, only 24% will set a firm budget.
“Retailers will need to adapt to the changing landscape of both the economy and consumers’ spending habits,” says Palmer. “Loyalty or reward programs or special seasonal deals can offer an added bonus.”