School and college shoppers are expected to spend $83.8 million on back-to-school this year. According to a recent report from the National Retail Federation, although shoppers began early in order to spread spending, consumers report that they still have more than half of their shopping lists to complete.
“It’s evident that there are plenty last-minute shoppers this year, and for retailers these next two weeks are of utmost importance when it comes to attracting families who still have apparel, electronics and school supplies to stock up on,” says Matthew Shay, president and chief executive officer, NRF. “Given how much of an impact the economy is having on consumers’ buying decisions, retailers will remain competitive up through the final sale after Labor Day, rolling out web, in-store and even mobile promotions to entice children and their parents.”
Eight in 10 Americans report that the economy will impact their school and college spending plans, so it’s no surprise promotions and coupons have been driving retailers’ back-to-school traffic. A large portion (about 39 percent) of both school age and college shoppers said at least half of their purchases were influenced by sales and promotions.
Back-to-school shoppers will do the remainder of their shopping at discount stores department stores, clothing stores, electronics stores and online, with discount stores leading the pack.
“Smart shoppers are utilizing every channel they can to find the best back-to-school deals, which this year includes comparison shopping through traditional and non-traditional outlets like catalogs and drug stores,” says Pam Goodfellow, director, BIGinsight Consumer Insights, the company that conducted the NRF survey. “With so many shoppers relying on debit cards and cash this year, it’s clear that parents are determined to send students back to class on budget.”