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Big box retailers and some grocers are among the top ten locations where parents plan to purchase back-to-school (BTS) supplies, and close to half of those surveyed said they plan to spend more this year, according to a Field Agent 2021 special Canada report.

For in-store shopping, Walmart, Dollarama, Costco and Superstore were among the top five retailers while Shoppers Drug Mart, No Frills and Sobeys were among the top ten retailers where parents say they plan to purchase school supplies. For online purchases, Amazon, Walmart, Staples, Costco and Giant Tiger were in the top seven selections.

Purchases, both in-store and online reveal how sentiments around back-to-school are changing when compared to last year, according to Field Agent. Parents expect to purchase certain items, like backpacks and athletic gear, more than they did in 2020, indicating parents are thinking students will be in classrooms. And as COVID-19 fears subside, 60 per cent of parents plan to pick up a bottle of hand sanitizer versus 75 per cent last year, however purchasing intentions of face masks and gloves are slightly higher this year over 2020.

Beyond backpacks and other school suppliers, 90 per cent of parents surveyed said they plan to purchase food for packed lunches.

About 85 per cent of parents surveyed expect to shop at Walmart, while 44 per cent plan to shop at Costco. Discount and dollar stores made a strong showing in this category, with Dollarama being number 2 on the overall back-to-school shopping list at 51 per cent and Dollar Tree at 22 per cent, with Giant Tiger cracking the top 10 at 17 per cent.

Survey note: Field Agent surveyed 451 parents of children entering K-12 in the fall of 2021. All respondents were Canadian smartphone owners at least 18 years of age. The survey was completed entirely through the Field Agent mobile app, July 8-20, 2021.

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Stacey Newman ([email protected])

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