On The Rise


A new study by Statistics Canada on cross-border shopping by Canadians in the United States reveals that between 2006 and 2012, it has increased by 72%. In 2006, cross-border shopping was estimated at $4.7 billion, while in 2012, it totalled $8 billion – and only 2009 showed a decline in cross-border shopping.

Overall retail trade sales in Canada also increased every year from 2006 to 2012 — except in 2009, when there was a 2.9% decline. Even with that one-year drop, annual sales rose from $389 billion in 2006 to $468 billion in 2012. Comparing the two figures, cross-border shopping by Canadians in the United States accounted for 1.7% of total Canadian retail sales in 2012.

The StatsCan study examines three spending scenarios, low, medium — the one cited above — and high expenditures. In these scenarios, the annual total for cross-border shopping ranged from $5.9 billion to $10.8 billion in 2012, or between 1.3% and 2.3% of total retail sales.

About three-quarters of Canadians live within 160 kilometres of the Canada-US border and, as a result, many consumers use their relatively easy access to the United States as a shopping option. This is especially true for those living right along the border when it comes to shopping for goods that are traditionally cheaper in the United States, like gasoline and groceries.

Cross-border shopping estimates are composed of four elements: spending on same-day trips; spending on overnight trips; postal and courier imports; and motor vehicle imports. Since 2006, both same-day and overnight trips have risen steadily, with the exception of 2009. In 2012, Canadians made almost 56 million visits to the United States, up 38% from 2006.

Every category except motor vehicle imports has also seen significant growth in its share of cross-border shopping. The annual amount brought back to Canada from same-day trips grew from $370 million in 2006 to $844 million in 2012. At the same time, the annual total from overnight trips doubled from $1.8 billion in 2006 to $3.6 billion in 2012.

Go to http://www.statcan.gc.ca for more.