Tis' the Season… For Back-To-School that is! Nearly half of the country agrees that back-to-school shopping is more expensive than the holiday season

TORONTO, Aug. 9, 2017 /CNW/ -- For some it may be the most wonderful time of the year, but for the majority of Canadians back-to-school can mean breaking the bank. With many items being purchased, from clothing to technology, it's no surprise that 53 per cent of Canadian parents agree that back-to-school shopping puts a financial strain on their families and many take months to pay off the bills they rack up (39 per cent). In fact, according to a recent survey by savings destination site RetailMeNot.ca, Canadians plan to spend a whopping $883 on getting their family prepared for the school this year - $325 more than what they spent on holiday gifts last year!

Kids Rule
Demanding wish lists could be the culprit for the high cost of back-to-school season, with the majority of Canadian parents (62 per cent) stating they care more about getting their kids what they need rather than saving money. With half of Canadian kids asking for the hottest products when it comes to tech, clothes and accessories, it's no wonder 86 per cent of parents agree back-to-school shopping is getting more and more expensive.  In fact, more than half of Canadian parents (56 per cent) spend more than they planned.

When it comes to what kids really want this back-to-school season, new clothes, shoes, school supplies and the latest smartphone and laptop top the list. For those purchasing wish list items, the average spend per item are:


Wish list item

Average Spend


New clothes



New shoes



School supplies








"Canadians are spending more on back-to-school than ever before – more than parents in the US and more than they did on gifts for holidays – but this doesn't have to be the case," says Sara Skirboll, Shopping and Trends Expert for RetailMeNot.ca. "Satisfy pricey wish lists and your desire to stick to a budget by scanning for sales, coupons or promo codes that can act as an easy way to stretch your budget further."

Cross Border Comparisons
Compared to our neighbours down south, Canadians really know how to live it large, outspending US residents on new clothes and shoes for their kids for back-to-school by $77 (US spend $153 and $71 on clothes and shoes, respectively). Additionally, Americans planning to purchase electronics will spend a mere $121. The lower spending patterns could be due to American parents (46 per cent) waiting for tax-free weekends and sales to do their shopping. Canadians may not be so savvy in comparison with 53 per cent agreeing they do not look for ways to save during back-to-school season. 

Other Survey Findings Include:

  • Costly Kids: 60 per cent of Canadian parents agree if they let their child shop for their own back-to-school needs, they will overspend;
  • Doting Dad: 66 per cent of dads care more about getting their kids what they need for back-to-school over saving money compared to 58 per cent of moms;
  • Blown Budgets: Nearly two thirds (64 per cent) of Canadian parents set a budget for back-to-school but 56 per cent admit to usually spending more than planned;
  • Sticker Shock: More than one-third of parents (40 per cent) don't realize how much they are spending on back-to-school shopping until they get the credit card bill.

About the Canadian survey:
From July 14th to July 15th, 2017 an online survey was conducted among 1,519 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to education, age, gender and region (and in Quebec, language) Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

About the American survey:
The RetailMeNot Q2 PR 2017 Survey was conducted between April 6th, 2017, and April 9th, 2017, among 1,023 nationally representative Americans ages 18 and over, using an email invitation and an online survey. Quotas are set to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the entire U.S. population ages 18 and over. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. In this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.1 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample. The margin of error of any subgroups will be slightly higher.

About RetailMeNot, Inc.
RetailMeNot, Inc. (https://www.retailmenot.com/corp/) is a leading savings destination connecting consumers with retailers, restaurants and brands, both online and in-store. The company enables consumers across the globe to find hundreds of thousands of digital offers to save money while they shop or dine out. RetailMeNot, Inc. estimates that approximately $4.4 billion in retailer sales were attributable to consumer transactions from paid digital offers in its marketplace in 2016, more than $600 million of which were attributable to its in-store solution. The RetailMeNot, Inc. portfolio of websites and mobile applications includes RetailMeNot.com in the United States; RetailMeNot.ca in Canada;VoucherCodes.co.uk in the United Kingdom; ma-reduc.com and Poulpeo.com in France; and GiftCardZen.com and Deals2Buy.com in North America. As wholly owned subsidiaries of Harland Clarke Holdings, RetailMeNot and Valassis, a leader in intelligent media delivery, are partnering to connect retailers and consumers through meaningful digital, mobile and print promotions both online and in store.

About Valassis
Valassis is a leader in intelligent media delivery, providing over 58,000 clients with innovative media solutions to influence consumers wherever they plan, shop, buy and share. By integrating online and offline data combined with powerful insights, Valassis precisely targets its clients' most valuable shoppers, offering unparalleled reach and scale. NCH Marketing Services, Inc. and Clipper Magazine are Valassis subsidiaries, and RedPlum® is its consumer brand. Its signature Have You Seen Me?® program delivers hope to missing children and their families. As wholly owned subsidiaries of Harland Clarke Holdings, Valassis and RetailMeNot, a leading destination for digital savings, are partnering to connect retailers and consumers through meaningful digital, mobile and print promotions both online and in store.

For interview requests or more information, please contact:
Erin Banting
Citizen Relations
416 934 8422 office
416 414 8637 mobile


SOURCE RetailMeNot, Inc.

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