Back-To-School: More Spending, More Waiting
Back-to-school shoppers are looking to spend more getting ready for the school year, but that cash may not show up in retailers’ coffers until the very last moment.
According to research conducted by brand and customer loyalty consultant Brand Keys, families expect to spend an average of $675 on back-to-school shopping this year, a 12% increase over last year. However, three-quarters of them expect to wait until the last week of August to get their shopping done.
In essence, says Robert Passikoff, president and founder of Brand Keys, consumers have learned over the cycle of sales throughout the year that the bargains increase as promotional events (back-to-school, holiday shopping, etc.) approach their end date.
“The fact that [retailers] are promoting these sales earlier and earlier and earlier doesn’t mean that’s when [shoppers] are going to make their buys,” Passikoff tells Marketing Daily. “What every consumer has learned is that, ultimately, the price will go down. They’re not going to run out of pencils or notebooks.”
Also contributing to the late start is the Internet. According to the Brand Keys research, 54% of shoppers cited the Internet as a “preferred” outlet for shopping this year, a 33% increase over the previous year, with many consumers saying they would use the Web to search for discounts and promotions.
“The online channel not only gives you an immense amount of time freedom, it also gives you access to the promotions as well,” Passikoff says.
Discount stores were cited by 92% of shoppers as a preferred channel (a decline of 3%), likely because of the commoditized nature of back-to-school products. Not surprisingly, Amazon and Wal-Mart were cited as the top two destinations for back-to-school shopping.