Breaking down back-to-school spending: report

The survey from Visa Canada states that Ontarians and Albertans plan to spend the most on supplies, with the average spend estimated at $757 this year.

Around two-thirds of Canadian post-high school students and their parents are citing lower prices and better promotions as reasons to shop online this back to school season. The breakdown of where shoppers will be spending their dollars between now and Labour Day was taken from an online survey commissioned and released by Visa Canada this week.

On the whole, Canadians plan to spend an average of $677 whether online or in-store, led by Ontarians who intend to spend around $757 (of which $290 is estimated to be spent online), according to the report. In 2011, the average amount that Canadians planned on spending was reported at $403. This jump is in line with an Ernst & Young report from earlier in the week which said Canadians expect to spend 2.5% more going into the back-to-school season this year.

Albertans are stated to be the second biggest spenders of supplies from textbooks to tablets, with residents planning to spend an average of $727 ($198 online) and Quebec shoppers plan to spend the least amount on supplies (with $277 of the overall $519 spent online).

Spending increases were seen in clothing purchases (up 12%), books (up 11%) and other school supplies such as stationary (up 8%), according to the report which also shows that 31% of shoppers plan to start early in order to avoid the crowds and lineups. Only 6% of the respondents plan to create a budget to reduce stress during the peak shopping season.

Competition from the U.S. has put a rush on the back-to-school period, nevertheless the majority of Canadian respondents (83% in-store and 72% online) say that they’ll be shopping in their home country. Of those who plan to look south for supplies, 73% state that cheaper prices are motivating them to do so.

The Visa Canada annual report was conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights and asked a total of 1,404 Canadians, 18 years or older, and have purchased an item online within the last six months.