Canadians Go Back to Basics for Back-to-School

Aug 08, 2013, 09:00 ET from VISA Canada Corporation

Visa Canada survey shows shoppers looking online for better prices and deals

  • 79 per cent of shoppers will be going online to find back-to-school buys
  • 90 per cent will be setting a budget
  • 58 per cent claim they'll need 3 shopping sessions to find everything they need

TORONTO, Aug. 8, 2013 /CNW/ - As students across the country prepare to head back to the classroom, Canadians are subtracting from their back-to-school budgets, by seeking less expensive ways to stock up on classroom necessities. Consistent with the growing trend of Canadians embracing eCommerce, 79 per cent of shoppers surveyed will be looking to the web to find back-to-school buys and related deals.

Commissioned by Visa Canada, the annual back-to-school survey reveals that shoppers plan to spend an average of $325 in store and $163 online on items specifically related to back-to-school. This marks a decrease in intended spend from last year as shoppers focus on sticking to lower allocated back-to-school budgets.

Correspondingly, shoppers are turning to the web to make their dollars go further, citing cheaper prices (57 per cent) and better sales and promotions (42 per cent) as the main reasons for purchasing back-to-school items online. The number of respondents who said that basic supplies like pens, pencils and notebooks were their most important purchases increased (up 14 per cent from last year), while the number of shoppers who focused on clothing decreased (down 8 per cent).

Additionally, 87 per cent of shoppers surveyed admitted to "showrooming", (the practice of looking at items in-store before buying them for less online), with 41 per cent admitting to doing this often. Men surveyed were more likely than women to be regular showroom browsers with this trend being most prevalent among those under 25.

And when it comes to who's shopping online the most, Albertans are leading the charge. Of the 79 per cent of Canadians who responded that they will purchase at least one back-to-school item over the Internet, Albertans will spend the most ($201) followed by Ontarians ($174) and Quebecers ($165).

"Canadians are approaching the back-to-school season in a savvier way, looking online to help them get what they need for a price they're willing to pay," said Dan Arnold, Associate Vice-President, Pollara. "This emphasis on cost is underscored by the fact that 90 per cent of shoppers surveyed stated that they'll be setting and following a back-to-school budget before going shopping."

"Canadians are looking to make online purchases that match their budget and priorities," said Ann-Marie McIntosh, Visa Canada. "Additionally, we're seeing that Canadians are logging on to avoid the hassles associated with busy retail periods. Crowds and lineups continue to be the number one pet peeve when it comes to shopping for back-to-school."

When it comes to timing, two-thirds (67 per cent), intend to get their back-to-school shopping started in August, while only 4 per cent plan to wait until the last minute in September. Interestingly, just one-in-ten (11 per cent) plan to accomplish all their back-to-school purchases in a single trip, with the majority of those surveyed (58 per cent) claiming they'll require at least three shopping sessions to find everything they need.

For those who prefer to shop using existing funds or for those who lack access to a traditional credit card, Visa Debit offers a safe and convenient alternative, expanding the world of eCommerce for consumers who prefer to make purchases using money from an existing bank account. Importantly, Visa Debit offers Visa's layers of security, including Visa's Zero Liability Policy, Verified by Visa®, E-Promise, AVS (Address Verification Service) and CVV2 (the three-digit code).

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.
  • 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 payment 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 electronic payments. We operate one of the world's most advanced processing networks — VisaNet — that is capable of handling more than 30,000 transaction messages a second, with fraud protection for consumers and assured 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 clients with deep understanding, insightful ongoing counsel, actionable recommendations, and bulletproof accuracy. Pollara is Canadian-owned, with offices in Toronto and Vancouver.

For the Visa survey, conducted by Pollara, a total of 1,400 Canadians were surveyed online from July 19-26, 2013. In order to qualify for this survey, respondents had to be 18yrs+, reside in Canada, be planning to make a back-to-school purchase, 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. The margin of error for subgroups will be larger.

SOURCE VISA Canada Corporation