Consumers Plan To Spend More On Back-To-School Shopping

Consumers Plan To Spend More On Back-To-School Shopping

By Mike Sachoff – Wed, 07/28/2010 – 5:15pm.

Social media playing a bigger role in shopping

Consumers are planning to spend more this back-to-school shopping season than in recent years, according to a new survey by Deloitte.

Nearly thirty percent (28%) of consumers said they plan to spend more this year on back-to-school shopping compared to last year, while just 17 percent indicate they plan to spend less.

The survey also indicated a sharp decline in the number of consumers who intend to shop differently due to the economy compared with the results of the previous two years. A total of fifty-eight percent of respondents say they will change how they shop for back-to-school items, for example, buying more items on sale or purchasing only items the family needs, which is down from 90 percent in 2008 and 70 percent in 2009.

“The survey indicates that consumers’ recession-induced behaviors are beginning to wane as households seek to replenish certain items and worry less about the economy,” said Alison Paul, vice chairman and Deloitte’s retail sector leader in the United States.

“Retailers may be encouraged that fewer consumers are planning to pare back this year, although they may find that shoppers continue to be deliberate in their purchases. Retailers should be laser-focused on giving shoppers a reason to put back-to-school dollars into their stores.”

Back-to-school shopping budgets may also be expanding due to a perceived need to increase supplies in certain categories. Among households that expect to spend more, approximately one-third (34 percent) indicate that their children need more expensive items, such as computers, and more than one-quarter (26 percent) say school budget cuts mean parents need to pay more for children’s items.

Mobile phones and social networking platforms will have increased influence in this year’s back-to-school shopping season.

Nearly three out of 10 (29 percent) consumers surveyed indicate they plan to access their mobile phones to assist in their back-to-school shopping. Among this segment of consumers, nearly four out of 10 (38 percent) will do so to obtain price information; one-third (33 percent) to view a retailer’s advertisement; and 30 percent to obtain discounts, coupons and sale information.

Similarly, nearly three out of 10 (29 percent) survey respondents said social networking sites would play a part in facilitating back-to-school shopping. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of consumers who plan to integrate social networking into their shopping activities will do so to find out about promotions, more than four out of 10 (42 percent) plan to browse products, and more than one-quarter (26 percent) intend to read reviews/recommendations.

“Consumers are increasingly on the phone, online and on-the-go,” said Paul. “Retailers’ ability to influence purchase decisions beyond in-store interactions is growing significantly. Companies that can directly engage the consumer through mobile applications, text alerts and video content may win an increased share of shoppers’ back-to-school budgets.”

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