With the start of school just around the corner,
the second-highest spending season of the year goes full-blast. Tween and teen
students in Canada have been hitting the stores with their $1.17B for
clothing, shoes and accessories, as well as their $6.6M in estimated spending
on school supplies. Although the majority of the funds for clothes and
accessories for back-to-school are coming from the parents (97% and 83% of
tweens and teens, respectively), 16% of tweens and 54% of teens are spending
their own hard earned dollars too.

Contrary to what many believe, Canadian youth are all about making their
dollar go further. Smart and stylish teens, girls especially, are shopping the
“fast fashion” retailers, those mass-market shops that knock-off or follow
designer trends and keep up with teens’ swiftly shifting fashion tastes…but
don’t completely drain their wallets. Of the stores Canadian teens shopped at
in the past three months, cheap ‘n chic retailers topped the list. Favourite
stores for Canadian teen females included the likes of Garage, Bluenotes, H&M,
Urban Behavior and Stitches. The mentality of “getting more bang for your
buck” will be satiated further by the arrival of the highly anticipated
American retailer, Forever 21, to the fashion-forward and price conscious
teens in Canada.

As the Canadian dollar lingers on par with the American dollar for the
first time in 30 years, teens are also heading to the US to top up their
shopping bags. These moves are fueled by the recognition of the loonie’s high
value, coupled with teens’ desire to hunt out unique finds as more American
retailers penetrate the Canadian market, the latest being Aeropostale. The
challenge to have coveted or distinctive pieces is heightened with the
continuous arrival of American stores, so Canadian teens are going to the
States to seek shops Canada has yet to see on its home turf, such as legendary
destinations like Wet Seal and Target.

Good news for Canadian retailers: although only 29% of 14 to 18-year-olds
surveyed factor in if a company is Canadian when purchasing products, this
consciousness rises with the older segment (39% of 19 to 24-year-olds and 46%
of 25 to 34-year-olds). Despite the growth of American fashion brands in
Canada and the strength of the Canadian dollar, the tween and teen population
of Canada are still spending the big bucks at home.