Parents spending more on back-to-school shopping as costs soar: survey

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Shoppers look for school supplies deals at a Target store, Wednesday, July 27, 2022, in South Miami, Fla. This back-to-school shopping season,  parents, particularly in the low to middle income bracket,  are focusing on the basics like no frills rainboots, while also trading down to cheaper stores, including second-hand clothing, as surging inflation takes a toll on their household budgets.  (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)
Parents are going to spend more on back-to-school shopping this year, according to new surveys, as costs continue to climb amid skyrocketing inflation. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

Parents are going to spend more on back-to-school shopping this year, according to new surveys, as costs continue to climb amid skyrocketing inflation.

According to a new Yahoo/Maru Public Opinion poll, one-third of Canadian parents surveyed (32 per cent) say they are spending more this year for back-to-school shopping than last year, and nearly all (89 per cent) say inflation is having an impact on school spending.

Rising costs mean more parents are on the hunt for deals on goods like clothing, school supplies and electronics. Four in 10 respondents (42 per cent) say they are increasingly turning to discount brands and stretching their household budgets in the wake of soaring prices. Nearly half say they have set modest budgets for this year's back-to-school shopping, while 11 per cent are not concerned about spending.

Canadians have already been cutting back on a range of categories, including groceries and entertainment, as red-hot inflation puts pressure on household budgets.

Inflation slowed to 7.6 per cent in July due to shrinking gasoline prices, but the cost of food and shelter continued to rise on a monthly basis. Statistics Canada says the price of recreation, education and reading items jumped 6.2 per cent annually in July, while clothing and footwear prices were up 1.4 per cent.

A survey from the Retail Council of Canada also found that 36 per cent of respondents expect to spend more this year on back-to-school shopping, while half will spend roughly the same as they did last year. The survey of more than 9,000 Canadian adults found that a majority plan on shopping at big-box retailers, such as Costco, Walmart, Canadian Tire and Staples.

In terms of how much Canadians will be spending this year, the Retail Council of Canada report found that nearly one in four (24 per cent) respondents plan on spending between $51 and $100 on back-to-school shopping, followed by $50 or less (23 per cent), $101 to $150 (15 per cent) and $151 to $200 (13 per cent). Five per cent of respondents say they plan on spending more than $500 this year.

Back-to-school is typically the second-largest shopping event for parents and retailers, second only to the holiday season.

The Yahoo/Maru Public Opinion poll surveyed 272 Canadian adults with children going to school in the fall between August 26 and August 28. It has an estimated margin of error of +/- 5.9 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Alicja Siekierska is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow her on Twitter @alicjawithaj.

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