Most in B.C. have shopped recently in U.S.: Poll

A quarter of cross-border shoppers feel guilty about it, Ipsos Reid finds

Two-thirds of B.C. residents have crossed the U.S. border to shop in the past year and 45 per cent have done so within the past three months, according to a new poll.

Ipsos Reid conducted the online survey of nearly 2,500 B.C. residents in October.

Ninety per cent of respondents knew duty-free limits on purchases Canadians bring back were increased June 1 for overnight visits to the U.S.

But only nine per cent said that led them to shop more over the line.

Retail price differences between U.S. and Canadian merchants was the top reason for cross-border shopping – listed by two-thirds of respondents.

The availability of deals in the U.S., better selection at retailers there and the currency exchange rate were also factors cited by about half of those polled.

The costs of heading across the border – gas, food or a hotel room – were less likely to drive decision making.

“It will be interesting to see how these numbers are impacted by the influx of American retailers to Canada,” Ipsos Reid senior vice-president Dave Pierzchala said.

“These figures suggest that Canadians will still be heading to the U.S. unless the U.S. retailers operating in Canada offer pricing in Canadian locations that is in line with their U.S. pricing.”

Nearly a quarter of respondents said they sometimes feel guilty about cross-border shopping instead of buying in Canada.

Asked if they had ever lied to a customs agent about how much they spent in the U.S., 15 per cent said yes and 83 per cent said no.