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Despite high dollar, only 17% have crossed border to shop in last 2 months

A new poll from Ottawa-based Abacus Data shows that Canadians are not flocking south of the border to shop despite a high Canadian dollar. With the Canadian dollar worth $1.03US [Bank of Canada May 19, update before release] Canadians are more likely to say they are going to the U.S. less this year than in the past to shop.

In the last two months less than 20% of Canadians said they have travelled to the United States to shop and only four per cent of Canadians

said they have gone more than twice. Although this is mainly consistent across demographic groups, 94% of those who have an annual income of $35 000 or less are not going to the US to shop at all.

For 19% of Canadians the inconveniences of crossing the border are keeping them home. Still a total of 38% agreed with the statement, “I want to support the local economy.”

“Add together higher gas prices, the need for a passport, and waits at the border, it’s no surprise Canadians don’t see the value in physically going to the U.S. to shop for deals,” says David Coletto, CEO of Abacus Data.  “The incentives of the high dollar and lower prices in the U.S. do not outweigh the inconvenience and cost to get to American retailers.”

Less than 40% of Canadians say they are staying home to support the local economy instead of shopping where the prices are the best. Among those aged 60 and over just less than half (49%) aim to spend their money at home for this reason. Compared to only 27% of Millennials, aged 18-29, which specifically seek to support the local economy when making purchasing decisions.

Canadians surveyed were somewhat more likely to make a purchase in the last two months online, than by physically crossing the border, however, only 19% said they are doing it more often than last year.

“Instead of physically going to the U.S. to shop, more and more Canadians are turning to online shopping to find deals,” said Coletto.  “This is especially true of millennials who are the most comfortable online and are very price conscious.”

Download full report

Methodology
Between April 28 and 29, 2011, Abacus Data Inc. conducted an online survey among 1,007 randomly selected Canadian adults from an online panel of over 400,000 Canadians. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is comparable to +/- 3.2%, 19 times out of 20.

Results of the survey were statistically weighted by gender, age, region, immigrant status, and education using census data from Statistics Canada and by past vote using Elections Canada results from the 2008 General Election. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.