As the number of young people entering adulthood in Canada continues to rise, the country’s retailers face the challenge of attracting them to their stores, said Mark Jardine, a senior economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
“It’s going to be a tough time, especially in the years after 2025, because it’s going be very difficult for stores to attract young people,” he said.
“There are just so many of them, so many retailers, that there’s just a tremendous need to find a way to bring in people to the stores to sell to them.”
Bulk discounting is a way for young people to get access to high-quality clothing online and to save on retail costs.
A recent study by the Centre for Research in Multiculturalism and Indigenous Peoples at the University of Toronto found that in the past two years, about a quarter of the clothing sold online was by people under 30, while more than 40 per cent was by women.
“It’s kind of like a kind of flea market,” said Jardines associate professor of economics, Chris Proulx.
“So, it’s a way of getting them to buy the clothes they want.””
Proulxes study looked at how much the retail cost of clothing was increased by retailers, and the percentage of the total price that they charged consumers. “
So, it’s a way of getting them to buy the clothes they want.”
Proulxes study looked at how much the retail cost of clothing was increased by retailers, and the percentage of the total price that they charged consumers.
“For example, if the price of a pair of jeans is $60, and if you’re in your 20s, you can get the same pair for $80,” he explained.
“So that $80, the $60 is being increased by 30 per cent.
So that’s a 30 per per cent increase.”
Prulxes research found that by the end of 2020, retailers had increased their prices by about 20 per cent on average, compared to the previous year.
“That is a big, huge increase, and that is not good,” JardINE said.
“That’s not the way to do it.”
Jardine said the study also found that while bulk discounters such as Target, Costco and BJ’s are increasing their prices, they’re not increasing the price they charge consumers in return.
“I think there’s some confusion about what the impact is,” he added.
“The big question is, are they getting their customers to pay more for the same items that they’re getting for less?”
Proullx said retailers need to be able to offer a better value.
“If you’re a big brand, like Target, they can afford to put a lot, if not all of their clothing in bulk,” he noted.
“But the retailers need, I think, to be competitive.
They need to make a profit.”