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Shoppers Go Back-to-School

Shoppers Go Back-to-School

The NPD Group anticipates that consumers will spend more on back-to-school items in 2012. The NPD Group polled 2,500 members of its online consumer panel to predict what retailers can expect for the back-to-school shopping seas

The NPD Group anticipates that consumers will spend more on back-to-school items in 2012.

The NPD Group polled 2,500 members of its online consumer panel to predict what retailers can expect for the back-to-school shopping season. The panel found that consumers intend to spend more this year, but they will start their shopping a little later.

"Retailers should plan to see a rise in sales when the temperature drops," says Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group. "The summer heat wave in much of the country is a possible contributor to the delay in back-to-school shopping."

Even though consumers plan to spend more this season, the type of retail outlets they intend to shop in has shifted. As a result, apparel, apparel accessories, footwear, school bags, sports equipment and calculators will receive more attention.

Department stores lead as the favored retail location, with 26 percent of shoppers preferring them in 2012. Footwear specialty (25 percent), online retailers (16 percent), apparel specialty retailers (15 percent) and warehouse clubs (13 percent) round out the top five. Most consumers–78 percent–plan to allocate budget to school supplies. Shoppers also will spend on apparel (62 percent), footwear (55 percent), school bags (43 percent), electronics (26 percent), apparel accessories (19 percent), calculators (11 percent) and sports equipment (6 percent).

"There will be waves of sales growth–in the early stages, school supplies and electronics will do well," says Cohen. "And when school is back in session, apparel and footwear will show some true promise, driving shoppers to department, sporting goods and specialty stores."

The study shows consumers expect value to remain a key factor in their back-to-school shopping decisions. Shoppers aim to listen to students for reasons to purchase an item, illustrating kids' influence on these seasonal shopping trips.

"Parents will be going back-to-school this year, too, back-to-school for shopping, that is," says Cohen. "In order to find the value and to learn what the trendy/fashionable articles are and what students want, parents and students have some homework to do."

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