Toronto, 22.08.2016

44% of Millennial Canadian Parents Plan to Spend More on Back-to-School Shopping This Year

Even younger parents still heavily favor in-store shopping for all kinds of back-to-school items – GfK study

When it comes to back-to-school shopping, Canada’s Millennial parents behave like old-school consumers.

In a new GfK study, 44% of Canadian parents in the 25-to-34 age group (often referred to as Millennials) said they plan to spend more on back-to-school shopping this year – 10 points higher than the average (34%) for all Canadian parents.

But even among Millennials, most of that shopping will happen in traditional retail stores, as opposed to online shopping sites. Overall, Canadian parents said they will do an average of 84% of their shopping in store, and just 16% online. For Millennials, the split was 79% in store versus 21% online; and anticipated bricks-and-mortar buying went up as the ages of the parents increased.

Even for electronics items – computers, tablets, cellphones/smartphones, and printers – Canadian parents were much more likely to say they would buy in traditional shops, as opposed to online. (See table on page 2.)

Similarly, 40% of parents said they would likely research back-to-school items online and then buy them in stores (known as “webrooming”), while just 8% expect to research in-store and then buy on the Internet (“showrooming”). The largest proportion, 43%, report that they will buy in retail shops without doing any online research.

Among the “bricks and mortar” shopping outlets, over seven in 10 respondents said they are likely to buy at a grocery store (75%), mass merchandiser or “big box” shop (73%), and/or a dollar store (71%). Traditional department stores were close behind, at 65%. 

Online resources do place second among sources of information about back-to-school items to be purchased, cited by 33% of Canadian parents. The schools themselves ranked first, mentioned by 63% of parents. In addition, 66% of consumers expect to use social media in their back-to-school shopping – 43% to find out about promotions, and 33% to browse products. 

GfK also found that 97% of Canadian parents will employ at least one cost-saving tactic during this back-to-school season. Almost three quarters (72%) say they will buy more items on sale, and 48% expect to buy “only what my family needs.” Nearly three in ten (29%) parents report that they will reuse last year’s back-to-school purchases, and 28% expect to rely more on store coupons to save money.   

The new research shows that 61% of Canadian parents have done 50% or less of their back-to-school shopping, with only 6% saying they are finished.

For its back-to-school study, GfK interviewed 1,007 Canadian households with children in kindergarten through grade 12; surveys were completed from August 12th to 14th, 2016.   

 In-store versus online shopping for back-to-school items

Computer software/small accessories24%15%
Printer/other computer hardware25%10%

Additional press contact: Hwee Yee Tan (PUNCH Canada), (416) 848-6846, hwee(at)

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