Consumers Plan to Spend Smarter and Look for Sales this Back-to-School Season

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PriceGrabber, an ecommerce platform and shopping site just released the results of its first 2013 Back-to-School shopping survey. The results indicate that 68 percent of consumers plan to spend up to $500 this back-to-school shopping season compared to 63 percent in 2012 and 48 percent in 2011. Additionally, 17 percent of respondents plan to spend between $500 and $1,000 and 15 percent of shoppers said they have no back-to-school shopping budget this year. Conducted from June 17 to July 8, 2013, the survey includes responses from 2,191 U.S. online shopping consumers.

Classic school supplies and clothing top shopping lists:

Consumers are planning to purchase practical items, putting basic school clothing and supplies at the top of their back-to-school shopping lists. When survey respondents were asked to select all of the items they plan to purchase this back-to-school shopping season, 72 percent selected general school supplies such as notebooks, binders, and pencils. Sixty-eight percent of consumers plan to send their children back to school in style with new clothing; 42 percent said they plan to purchase a back-pack or tote bag; and 36 percent of shoppers said they plan to purchase books.

In the electronics category, computers topped back-to-school shopping lists with 17 percent of respondents selecting laptop computers, and 11 percent citing an electronic tablet purchase. Computer accessories received 10 percent of the vote, cell phones received 9 percent, and only 5 percent selected a desktop computer.

Consumers plan to use numerous money-saving methods while back-to-school shopping:

When survey respondents were asked to select all of the ways they plan to save money while back-to-school shopping this year, visiting discount stores ranked in first place with 50 percent of the consumer vote. Forty-six percent of consumers said they plan to search for school supplies they already own such as pens, pencils and glue sticks before buying new items. Consumers indicated they will readily use online shopping sites as this money saving option ranked third place receiving 45 percent of vote; 37 percent of consumers plan to take an inventory of their kids’ closet to see what items can still be worn and which items need to be replaced before going shopping; and 33 percent plan to visit retailer websites to print coupons.

Discount stores and online-only retailers score big with consumers:

When respondents were asked to select all of the types of stores they plan to shop at for back-to-school items, 80 percent selected discount stores. Online-only retailers were voted second place receiving 54 percent of the consumer vote, and wrapping up a close third place, office supply chain stores were selected with 44 percent. It is noteworthy to mention that 42 percent plan to shop at traditional department stores and 24 percent plan to shop at electronics stores this back-to-school season.

Back-to-school mobile device purchases expected to rise:

Many back-to-school shoppers indicated they will continue to shop electronically this year to take advantage of the latest and greatest back-to-school shopping deals. When survey respondents were asked to select all of the methods in which they plan to purchase back-to-school items this year, 13 percent answered they plan to shop using their mobile phone (compared to 6 percent in 2012), and 16 percent said they planned to make purchases via an electronic tablet device (versus 8 percent from last year). Sixty-nine percent of shoppers said they plan to make back-to-school product purchases online; 58 percent indicated purchases at a brick-and-mortar store; and only 11 percent noted a potential purchase from a printed catalog.

Free shipping, sales and coupons incentivize back-to-school shoppers:

Consumers continue to look for ways to stretch their dollar and take advantage of retailer incentives to save money. According to the survey, 72 percent of consumers chose free shipping as the top retailer tactic that would entice them to make a back-to-school purchase this year. When asked to select all retailer tactics that would encourage them to make a back-to-school shopping purchase, sales came in a close second place with 71 percent of the vote; 69 percent cited coupons; 43 percent selected online promotions; 41 percent noted rebates; and 38 percent selected free items with a purchase.

Visit PriceGrabber’s Back-to-School Shopping Guide for deals on school supplies, backpacks, printers, dorm room furniture, computers, clothing, accessories, and more.

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