Back-to-school spending forecasted to climb

An Ernst & Young report states that overall spending during the season in Canada will be up as a result of increased competition in the US.

Though consumers are reported to be in the spending doldrums of late, some relief may be felt during the back-to-school shopping season. According a new report from Ernst & Young, spending in Canada is set to climb 2.5% over last year (which saw a flat year with 2010 numbers).

According to the study, back-to-school sales began early this year on July 1 in the US and as a result, Canadian retailers have had to follow suit in order to battle cross-border competition.

The premature start has stimulated demand for school supplies and in a statement from the research company Daniel Baer, partner, Ernst & Young says that even though spending is higher, consumers’ low confidence level will prove to make things difficult as they look for “bargains despite brand loyalty, and aren’t hesitant to compare prices before buying, whether shopping in stores or online from home or by mobile.”

In addition to the early start of the spending season, retailers north of the border also have to deal with losing customers to the US as a result of new traveler exemption limits which began in June and allows for higher dollar purchases over a 24 or 48 hour period.

Spending is predicted to be highest in Alberta and Saskatchewan, with Quebec and Ontario sitting below the national average, according to the report.

Baer forecasts the tech sector to be successful this year as more younger students are reported to be purchasing electronic items and devices for school.