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Canadians are spending less on back-to-school supplies amid pandemic: survey

Shoppers were also more likely this year to buy things online in every single category

Fewer parents are going back to school shopping this year, and the ones that are are spending less, according to a back-to-school survey.

The Leger survey, commissioned by the Retail Council of Canada and released Monday (Aug. 24), found that four per cent fewer families shopped for back-to-school supplies in 2020 compared to the year prior.

In 2020, 37 per cent of families shopped for back-to-school supplies and spent an average of $727, compared to 41 per cent of Canadians who spent $919 in 2019.

Canadians said they spent, or were planning to spend, less on every back-to-school category – included school supplies, apparel and footwear, books, and electronics – except for health-related products. The average spend on that category went up by $21.

Shoppers were also more likely this year to buy things online in every single category, despite retails stores being open in most parts of the country.

Back-to-school plans differ across Canada, but students in B.C. are set to return on Sept. 10, with teachers returning two days prior, and few options for remote learning. Masks will be mandatory for students in middle and high schools, and students will be placed into 60 to 120 person learning groups. In Alberta, students will return Sept. 2 or 3, with masks mandatory for Grade 4 and up and optional at-home learning.

Survey results come from 1,513 Canadians who interviewed from August 7 to 9 using Leger’s online panel. Leger said results were weighted according to gender, age, mother tongue, region, education level and presence of children in the household in order to ensure a representative sample of the population, using the 2016 Census.

READ MORE: B.C. school staff, older students required to wear masks in ‘high traffic areas’

READ MORE: B.C. teachers’ union calls for remote learning option, stronger mask mandate

READ MORE: B.C. to roll out ‘learning groups’ as part of COVID-19 back-to-school plan


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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