Tablets Make Impact On Back-to-School Shoppers

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While cautious back-to-school shoppers may not be giving retailers much to sing about, this season is providing new insights into how they are using technology, with tablets and smartphones both gaining importance.

The National Retail Federation reports that 39.6% of college shoppers and 30.2% of K-12th grade shoppers with tablets say they intend to use tablets for buying back-to-school products. And 16.8% of college shoppers, as well as 18.8% of K-12 grade shoppers with smartphones say they will make purchases via their device.

Some 51% of those with tablets say they plan to use it for BTS shopping research, with women far more likely to do so (55%) than men (46%.) Conversely, men are more likely to use tablets for actual purchases (36%) than women (25%).

"Retailers are using everything in their arsenal to attract customers whenever and wherever they want to shop -- and mobile retailing is a big part of that strategy," writes NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay in the release. "Consumers looking to save time and money while shopping for school items will be able to find their favorite brands in an instant, complete their checklists, and purchase what they need all with a swipe of their finger."

Among smartphone owners, 34% plan to use them for product research, and 19% to actually make purchases, with no significant gender differences.

Of the college shoppers with tablets, juniors, graduate students and freshmen will be the ones using tablet devices the most to purchase their school items. Nearly half of surveyed juniors (48%), graduate students (47%) and freshmen (47%) say they plan to purchase school products via their tablet.

The NRF conducted the survey with BIGResearch, and included 8,600 people.

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