Economic Concerns Curtail Back-To-School Shopping

Economic Concerns Curtail Back-To-School Shopping

Because of  higher gas and food price concerns, 71 percent of respondents in a new Deloitte survey said they plan to spend less on back-to-school items this year. Almost half (48 percent) plan to reduce their household spending by more than $100. In addition, consumers will change where and how they shop.

According to a national study of US mothers by the Marketing to Moms Coalition, though, back-to-school spending in 2008 will be modestly higher than last year, with an 8% increase over last year's spending levels, at $484, compared with $449.  

While consumers will continue to buy supplies, such as paper, pencils and notebooks (95 percent), clothes (92 percent), shoes (86 percent) and backpacks/book bags (68 percent), many indicated that they intend to cut back on these purchases. Notably, more than eight in 10 said they will spend less on clothes, while 48 percent said they will spend less on shoes and 30 percent said they will spend less on backpacks/book bags. Almost one-third (29 percent) said they will spend less on supplies.

Products On Which Consumers Will Spend Less

Product

% of Respondents Expecting to Spend Less

Clothing

83%

Shoes

48

Backpack/bookbag

30

Paper, pencils, notebooks, etc.

29

Jewelry

15

Computer/laptop

10

Computer software

10

Cell phone

9

Mp3 player

8

Source: Deloitte, August 2008

Stacy Janiak, Deloitte's U.S. Retail leader, noted that "... consumers will likely stick to the basics this fall, and parents may be saying ‘no' more often as they head to the register... "

90 percent of respondents said they will likely change the way they shop for back-to-school items this year. Changes include:

  • 79% will buy more back-to-school items on sale
  • 70% will buy only what the family needs
  • 68% will buy more lower-priced items
  • 53% will use more store coupons
  • 46% will shop at different - less expensive - stores than usual
  • 45% will put off buying certain items for as long as possible
  • 33% will buy more private label
  • 27% will research more products online, to find the best price

The vast majority of consumers (88 percent) will do their back-to-school shopping this year at discount/value department stores. Almost four in 10 (37 percent) will shop at dollar stores, and almost one-third (32 percent) will shop at office supply/computer stores.

Most Popular Shopping Locations for Back-To-School

Store Type

% of Respondents Planning to Shop There

Discount / Value Dept. Stores

88%

Dollar Stores

37

Office Supply / Computer

32

Traditional Department Store

27

Drug Store

26

Warehouse Membership

23

Specialty Clothing

21

Online Stores

19

Supermarkets

8

Home Electric Stores

7

Catalogs

5

Source: Debbies Back-to-School Shopping Survey, August 2008

Janiak continued, "The green issue has captured the consumer's attention (this year), but the jury is still out on how much intention will translate into action... " However,  41% of survey respondents said they will seek out "green" products this back-to-school season, and 31% said they will seek out green retailers.

For more about this study, please visit here, or for more about the Deloitte's Retail sector, please visit here.

 

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