Canadians Spending More This Year for Back-to-School

According to the annual BMO Back to School Survey released today, retailers should expect to see a boost from back-to-school shopping this year as Canadians plan to spend more on school materials compared to last year.
According to the survey, conducted by Pollara, Canadians plan to spend an average of $428 on back-to-school shopping this year, up 18.2 per cent from $362 in 2012 and 34.2 per cent from $319 in 2011. The survey found that Canadians expect to spend:
—  $170 per child in Kindergarten/Elementary school
—  $226 per child in Junior/High School
—  $572 per child in Post-Secondary/University
“The end of summer is an important time of the year for many businesses that sell back to school supplies. Many will see an increase in the number of shoppers and dollars spent during the season, leading to a positive impact on their bottom line,” said Mike Bonner, Vice President, Commercial Banking, GTA Division, BMO Bank of Montreal. “Retailers that offer loyalty or reward programs offer an added bonus to students and parents who are looking to get the most of their money.”
Regionally, for the third year in a row, Quebecers plan to spend the most on back-to-school shopping ($501). This is followed by shoppers in Atlantic Canada ($450), the Prairies ($450), Alberta ($431), B.C. ($403) and Ontario ($390).
Making the Most of Every Dollar
According to the survey, the majority of Canadians (95 per cent) plan to make an effort to limit their back-to-school spending. The most common strategies include looking for deals and using coupons (65 per cent), comparing prices at different stores (62 per cent), reusing supplies from last year (51 per cent) and buying only what is essential (53 per cent).
Nearly two-fifths of parents (35 per cent) are planning to set a firm budget, up 6 per cent from last year.
For students managing their own back-to-school spending, BMO’s no-fee student credit card with free, built-in SPC Car benefits. The BMO SPC MasterCard provides students with discounts of 10 to 15 per cent at hundreds of fashion, food, entertainment, lifestyle and travel retailers across Canada, plus their choice to earn AIR MILES reward miles or CashBack rewards on all of their card purchases.
BMO also offers free banking for students while in school and for a year after graduation, plus a BMO Student Line of Credit which allows students to make interest-only payments while in school and up to one year after they graduate.
2013 Back-to-School Prices(i)
Category                                              Approximate Total Cost
School Supplies
– 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                    $250 to $350
– Backpack, pencil case and lunch bag                            $35 to $100
– Magnets, lock, gym uniform and head phones                      $25 to $50
TOTAL BACK-TO-SCHOOL BUDGET:                                    $335 to $540

Additional Items – Technology:
– Calculator, laptop, printer and USB key (8GB)                $800 to $1200
(i)Based on an internet sampling of major retailers’ current sale prices for
back-to-school supplies

The Pollara online survey was completed between August 6th and August 9th, 2013, with a sample of 1,004 Canadians. A probability sample of this size would yield results accurate to +/- 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.