Canadians Are Back-to-School Shopping Online in 2016 (Statistics)

Canadians will be shopping online and using mobile more during the 2016 back-to-school season. A new report from EY indicates it has never been more important to use the Internet and omni-channel strategies to reach Canadian shoppers of all ages. Consumers are expected to embrace eCommerce and use mobile devices to find the best deals. They’ll also be spending 4.5% more than last year, lead by British Columbia. Thanks to the low Canadian dollar, most of that spending will be done in Canada.

“Consumers, parents and children alike, are doing their homework before they buy. They may not buy online or via mobile, but it’s the first place they’ll go to do their research. Retailers must deliver responsively, intuitively and seamlessly across all platforms,” says Daniel Baer, EY partner and National Retail and Consumer Products Leader.

Two Back-to-School Online Target Markets

It’s important for marketers to understand that they’re targeting two very different consumer groups. Parents are the obvious focus of most back-to-school marketing campaigns. Their buying decisions are influenced by practical factors, such as free shipping and easy returns.

The second consumer group to target is Gen Z (teens and tweens). More parents are handing over their credit card so teens can shop online. Parents can maintain control by viewing the cart before checkout, while giving teens the freedom they crave to make their own choices.

For marketers, that means being where the teens are. Today’s digital experience is extremely visual, so you have to be on visual social networks like Pinterest and Instagram. Even if don’t market on image-sharing social networks directly, be aware that your target market will share your images there. They’ll share them on all social media networks, in fact, so make it a priority to use branded, trendy, eye-catching images.

It’s also crucial to provide these young Canadians with the ultimate back-to-school shopping experience, because no group is more vocal and influential online than they are. Identify the “got to have” items and let them know you’ve got them in stock. When they post their purchase on social media and their friends say “OMG! Where did you get that?!” you’ll want the answer to be your website.

We have an inspiring collection of back-to-school eTailer tips that will help make this year your most profitable yet.

Comment on Canadians Internet BusinessWhat is your 2016 back-to-school marketing plan for Canada? Please share your insights in the comments below.

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Digital Business & Marketing Manager at Online Business Canada | Website | + posts

Melody McKinnon's formal education is in business management, which she enhanced with more than 60 certifications revolving around business, marketing, health, general sciences and writing. In 25 years of working online, she has owned or managed both educational and ecommerce websites. Her book, 7 Recession Proof Online Businesses to Start From Home, is available on Amazon.

Melody has worked with many businesses & brands in a multitude of capacities. She can often be found on, and, as well as other quality digital publications. Her content has earned reference links from highly-respected websites, magazines and university textbooks.

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Bren T.

It’s been a little slower for us online this year so far. I think more people will shop offline because they can’t get much better deals online with the low dollar? We’re still doing well because we’re both online and offline.

Stan Murch

My buddy is in retail and he had to hire more teens because so many shoppers are now teens with daddy’s credit card. The teen employees sell way more to that demographic than older clerks. He has a fashion store so it might not be that way everywhere but I think you’re bang on in this post.