Estimates of Cross-border Shopping, 2006 to 2012

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by Patrizia Corbi, National Economic Accounts Division


This article provides estimates of the value of cross-border shopping by Canadian households in the United States from 2006 to 2012, on an annual and quarterly basis. The study provides detailed values for overnight and same-day spending in the United States, postal and courier imports and motor vehicle imports. Total cross-border expenditures are compared to Canadian retail trade sales, to provide a basis of comparison for the magnitude of these expenditures. The extent to which cross-border spending varies with movements in the Canada/United States exchange rate is also examined.

The cross-border expenditure estimates are derived from the Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts (CSMA) and their underlying survey and administrative data sources. The estimates are based on three different scenarios (low, medium and high expenditures), with each scenario based on different statistical assumptions. The low scenario represents the lower-bound estimates for cross-border shopping, while the high scenario corresponds to the upper-bound estimates. The medium expenditure scenario is based on assumptions assumed to be the most plausible. All assumptions reflect professional judgement and build on previous analysis.


This article was prepared by Patrizia Corbi of the National Economic Accounts Division, under the direction of James Tebrake, Director General of the Macroeconomic Accounts Branch.

The author would like to thank the following people for their support: Guy Gellatly, Daniela Ravindra, Jennifer Withington, Jean-Gaston Gingras, André Loranger, Isabelle Amano, Denis Caron, George Bentley, Agata Wyporska and Serge Grenier.

Finally, the author would like to especially thank Jackie Maisonneuve, Chief of the Consumer Expenditure Section of the National Economic Accounts Division, for her invaluable support throughout the various stages of the study.

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