Apparel will get the most back-to-school spending

The Retail Council of Canada also expects a 22.5% increase in overall spending this year.

Back to School-image

Canadians are preparing to spend more on apparel than anything else this back-to-school season.

That’s based a sample of around 9,500 shoppers from the Retail Council of Canada (RCC).

The survey reveals that 86.3% of respondents make back-to-school purchases, 32.7% of Canadians specifically make shopping trips for back-to-school items and 41.5% intend to shop locally and in person this year.

The top spending categories include apparel (56.2% of responents), followed by books and music (29.3%), personal and home electronics such as smart phones and tablets (19.6%), health and personal care items like cosmetics (18.8%) and food/beverage (17%).

Half of Canadians also expect to spend a similar amount this year for going back to school as compared to last year. But overall, the numbers reveal a net increase in expected spend by 22.5% among Canadians, compared to 2021 levels.

The spend breakdown is as follows: 77% will spend more than $50; 24% will be spending between $51-$100; 23% will spend $50 or less; and around 15% will be spending between $101-$150.

Around 1 in 5 Canadians search for back to school products in the grocery aisles, with front of store and free standing displays being equally effective ways to interface with the consumer (see, below).

in store-back to school

The top 5 preferred destinations, however, are big box retailers (55%), followed by clothing retailers (35.6%), department stores (22.8%), pharmacies (21.1%) and electronics retailers (17.8%).

Spending on school-related items is well underway, with 42.9% of respondents reporting that they make purchases between two to four weeks before the start of the new school year. Only 5.2% will be doing their shopping a week before, and 2.2% “a few days” before.