Visa Canada Survey Uncovers This Year's Spending Trends for Back-to-School Shopping

August 1, 2012 at 12:11 PM EDT

TORONTO, Aug. 1, 2012, 2012 (Canada NewsWire via COMTEX) --As summer rolls into August, students across the country will soon begin preparing for another school year - stocking up on everything from textbooks to tablets, and spending an average of $677 between now and Labour Day.

Commissioned by Visa Canada, this year's back-to-school survey reveals that overall, shoppers are heading online, lured by the promise of lower prices (60 per cent) and better sales/promotions (54 per cent). Canadians' propensity for online, back-to-school purchases continues to increase in 2012, particularly for clothing (60 per cent, +12 points vs. 2011), books (56 per cent, +11 points vs. 2011) and other school supplies (49 per cent, +8 points vs. 2011). The survey also revealed the trend towards purchasing goods at a lower price point, with more Canadians planning to spend $100-$200 (+10 points vs. 2011).

Unsurprisingly, crowds and lineups continue to be the most disliked aspect of back to school shopping, with 29 per cent claiming to dread this aspect of shopping the most. To eliminate some of the stress associated with this activity, respondents pointed to the following tips: Start early (31 per cent), create a list (22 per cent) and shop online (22 per cent). Only six per cent indicated that they create a budget beforehand to reduce stress.

"Back-to-school shopping can be both exciting and hectic for parents and kids so it's no surprise that a number of Canadians are turning to online shopping to save time and money," said Alex Collins, Visa Canada. "With 36 per cent of parents and kids teaming up to do the shopping, it's great opportunity to start a dialogue with your kids about budgeting and spending. Involve them in creating a budget and track purchases together to start budget lessons before the school bell rings."

"We also know that Canadians are deal-savvy, and regard the web as a great place to take advantage of lower prices. Shoppers in the market for back-to-school deals can visit for coupons and special offers," said Collins.

Survey results also reveal that Canadian shoppers plan to keep the majority of their spend within Canadian borders (83 per cent of in-store purchases and 72 per cent of online purchases). Of those who do plan on shopping south of the border, 73 per cent cite cheaper prices as their main incentive for doing so. Visa Debit provides a great option for those shopping online, allowing Canadian consumers to purchase items with funds drawn directly from their bank accounts.

Back-to-School (BTS) regional differences: Ontario residents expected to spend the most online

When it comes to back-to-school shopping, Visa's survey reveals that Ontario residents are the largest online spenders in Canada, and intend to spend an average of $290, primarily at Canadian online retailers (74%). Overall, shoppers in Ontario and Alberta will spend the most between now and Labour Day ($757 and $727 respectively).Prairies residents plan to spend the least online, at $160. Those in Quebec are planning to spend the least overall, at $519 on average ($227 online).

|         |Avg.      |Avg. Estimated|Avg. Proportion |Avg. Proportion|
|         |Estimated |Spend Online  |of              |of             |
|         |Spend     |Before Labour |Online Purchases|In-Store       |
|         |Before    |Day on BTS    |on Canadian     |Canadian       |
|         |Labour Day|items         |Websites        |Purchases      |
|         |on BTS    |              |                |               |
|         |items     |              |                |               |
|Canada   |$390      |$248          |72%             |83%            |
|British  |$442      |$198          |67%             |80%            |
|Columbia |          |              |                |               |
|Prairies |$374      |$160          |68%             |83%            |
|Ontario  |$421      |$290          |74%             |83%            |
|Quebec   |$292      |$227          |73%             |84%            |
|Maritimes|$405      |$282          |67%             |85%            |

Online layers of security also reduce stress

Visa cardholders can count on several layers to protect them when shopping:

  • Verified by Visa, a password-based security program designed for online shopping, has been adopted by more than 378 million Visa cardholders and 430,000 merchants around the world. Adopting Canadian merchants include Air Canada, WestJet, Via Rail, Best Buy, Future Shop, Dell, Telus, Cineplex, Tim Hortons, Aldo, Suzy Shier, Bluenotes, and La Senza.
  • CVV2 or the "three-digit code", printed on the signature panel on the back of a Visa card, helps prove to the merchant that the cardholder has the card in his or her possession when ordering online or over the phone.
  • Visa E-Promise, assures Visa cardholders that if they have not successfully resolved a dispute with an online, phone order or mail order merchant, they can contact their Visa card issuer directly to initiate action to resolve the credit card charge in question.
  • Visa cardholders are also covered by Visa's Zero Liability policy, which helps protect cardholders against fraud if a lost or stolen Visa card is used to purchase goods in person, online, by mail or by phone.

For more information about Visa's Zero Liability Policy and the Visa E-Promise, please visit

About Visa Visa is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable digital currency. Underpinning digital currency is one of the world's most advanced processing networks—VisaNet—that is capable of handling more than 20,000 transaction messages a second, with fraud protection for consumers and guaranteed payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers.Visa's innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: pay now with debit, ahead of time with prepaid or later with credit products. For more information, visit

About Pollara Founded in 1985, Pollara Strategic Insights is one of Canada's premier public opinion and marketing research firms, providing full-service quantitative and qualitative research services and strategic counsel to clients in the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors. Pollara is Canadian-owned, with offices in Toronto, Vancouver, and New Brunswick. Pollara provides advice based on deep sector expertise and decades of senior-level experience, facilitated by a leading-edge research toolbox.

For the Visa survey, conducted by Pollara, a total of 1,404 Canadians were surveyed online between July 12-17, 2012. In order to qualify for this, survey respondents had to be 18yrs+, reside in Canada and have purchased something over the internet in the past 6 months. An unweighted probability sample of this size, with 100 per cent response rate, would have an estimated margin of error of plus or minus 2.6 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Margin of error for subgroups will be larger.

SOURCE: VISA Canada Corporation

SOURCE: VISA Canada Corporation

Media contact: Erin Sufrin, Visa Canada, 416-860-3869,
Janine Allen, Fleishman-Hillard, 416-645-3657,