Back-to-school shopping: a blast or nightmare? Depends on whom you ask

Online shoppers more likely to enjoy it

TORONTO, Aug. 18, 2015 /CNW/ - The majority of Canadian parents describe back-to-school shopping as a "chore" or even a "nightmare" (70 per cent), while kids are more likely to describe the back-to-school shopping experience as "a blast" (59 per cent), according to a new survey by, a leader in online cash back shopping.

While the hassle and expense of back-to-school shopping are the top stresses for 32 per cent of parents, kids are more concerned about homework (34 per cent) and having to wake up early (33 per cent).

"Back-to-school season is overwhelming for both parents and kids alike," explains Adrienne Down Coulson, general manager, "But what's interesting about our findings is that online shoppers appear to enjoy back-to-school shopping more than those who don't shop online, and it's still the retailer sites that are the first go-to destination when scouting for products, over and above social media."

Most kids who scout out products online visit store (67 per cent) and product/brand websites (51 per cent), while 33 per cent or fewer visit YouTube (33 per cent), Facebook (31 per cent) or Instagram (26 per cent), when researching back-to-school items. 

Online Versus Brick and Mortar

Doing any of your shopping online rather than in-store appears to result in a more positive experience for shoppers, with 38 per cent of parents who online shop describing back-to-school shopping as a "blast". Only a quarter of those who only shop in brick and mortar stores feel this way.

Other interesting findings include:

  • Girls are more likely to engage in online back-to-school scouting (45 per cent for girls versus 33 per cent for boys) and they are more likely to describe back-to-school shopping in positive terms (67 per cent of girls say back-to-school shopping is a blast as compared to only 50 per cent of boys).
  • When it comes to getting the "right" back-to-school items, kids are split on whether they would rather have the same stuff as their friends (53 per cent); or things that are different from their friends (47 per cent). 
  • Interestingly, boys may feel the peer pressure to fit in more given they are more likely than girls to want back-to-school items that blend in with their friends (57 per cent of boys want the same stuff as their friends versus only 49 per cent for girls).
  • Older kids in the 16-17 age range are more likely than younger kids to want their back-to-school items to standout from their friends. Fifty-seven per cent want different stuff compared to only 42 per cent for 6-7 year olds.
  • What do parents and kids like best about back-to-school? Parents are looking forward to getting their kids back on a regular schedule and in a learning environment whereas the kids can't wait to see their friends.

"While the shopping component at this time of year squeezes parents' wallets, there are ways to shop smarter and make the experience more positive and fun for the whole family," according to Down Coulson.

Here are some tips for parents and kids to ease the stress of back-to-school shopping this season, while having fun:

  • First, have a family scavenger hunt asking the kids to dig for last year's school supplies. You will be surprised at how many calculators, highlighters and notebooks you dig up, especially if you offer a reward such as an extra $10 toward the back-to-school shopping budget for the child who finds the most.
  • Scope out the scene online. Many online retailers offer impressive savings this time of year – larger retailers like SHOP.CA, and Walmart offer free shipping and cash back offers.
  • Sign up for retailer emails and follow them on social media to be the first to hear about flash sales and promo codes.
  • Play "online window shopping". Give your kids a budget and ask them to browse websites, adding what they want to the shopping cart so they can see the total tally up and when they have reached their budget.
  • Download the Ebates Cash Back Browser Button to easily earn cash back as you shop – plus it will even compare cash back offers from different retailers within your search results. Install it before your kids go searching so you are sure to choose stores that offer cash back!

From August 11 to 25, will be offering double cash back on purchases at popular back-to-school stores including Joe Fresh, SHOP.CA and Chapters-Indigo.

About the survey The Ebates Canada survey was conducted online in July and August, 2015 with a random, nationally representative sample of 1,000 Canadian parents of school-aged children and 916 interviews with their school-aged children. A sample of this size is accurate to within +/-3 percentage points for parents and +/- 3.5 percentage points for children, 19 times out of 20.

About The Ebates brand supports a strong community of millions of savvy shoppers around the world. was founded in 1998 and has paid over $300,000,000 in cash to its global members. In 2012, Ebates began international expansion with the launch of Ebates Canada, specifically designed by Canadians for Canadians. membership is free. To earn cash back, online shoppers log in to and click through to a partner retail site to complete their purchase. then tracks the purchase and offers back in cash a percentage of everything bought. Every quarter, sends members their cash back account balance in the form of a #BigFatCheque or through PayPal. Members also have the option to send their cash back to a designated charity.

For back-to-school savings and great deals follow Ebates Canada on:

Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | YouTube

SOURCE Ebates Canada

Image with caption: "Ebates Canada (CNW Group/Ebates Canada)". Image available at:

For further information: Media requests: Jamie Sanders, 416-929-7740,

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