Latest figures show a doubling in expense
In 2016, surveys showed that sending a child to school cost parents about $450 for each child. Figures for 2017 showed that amount had almost doubled to about $880.
The 2017 survey was performed by the Angus Reid polling firm for the online promotions site, RetailMeNot Inc.
Quoted in the Globe and Mail at the time, a spokesperson for RetailMeNot said, “”School supply lists are getting longer than they used to and with the rise of technology being used, that adds to the cost, which is why we are spending more, year over year”.
A recent survey this year by the financial firm Ernst and Young-Canada indicated that spending in 2018 would likely be up by four per cent over last year..
In addition to direct costs of things like pens and paper there are clothes to buy, footwear, rucksacks, and expensive electronics.
A survey for RetailMeNot Inc this year found that a majority of the 1,500 parents surveyed (69%) said it was one of the most expensive shopping periods in the year and a significant number (44%) said back to school shopping posed a financial burden on them.
However, political and economic issues seem not to affect habits.
“As parents focus on their children’s education, concerns over NAFTA, tariff and geopolitical uncertainty are not expected to influence consumer spending in the short term,” says Daniel Baer, EY-Canada Consumer Products and Retail Assurance Leader. “That doesn’t mean consumer expectations aren’t changing. The path to purchase continues to evolve, and retailers will need to keep up by being cognizant of how consumers make their buying decisions.”
The trend also seems to be towards increasing purchases online but Ted Salter, EY Canada Consumer Products and Retail Leader, says to survive retailers need to consider the physical stores and their online shopping sites “as part of one ecosystem, and not as separate channels”
Other surveys have shown dads tended to spend a bit more than moms and perhaps surprisingly, are likely to do a bit more online shopping that mothers.
While back to school shopping has tended to peak in the last weeks of August before the September school year begins, it seems that more and more people are spreading their purchases out, doing some shopping much earlier in the summer and also into September.