The Mobile Influence on Back to School Shopping

With back-to-school shopping already moving into high gear, mobile shoppers are looking for an edge.

When taken together, several new research studies point to potential mobile influence in back-to-school shopping behaviors.

As a benchmark, consumers will spend a total of $72.5 billion on back-to-school items in the U.S. this year, according to Prosper Insights and Analytics in a study conducted for the National Retail Federation (NRF).

This spending includes purchases of apparel, shoes, supplies and electronics by college students and families with school-age children.

The actually shopping will happen in various places, including department stores, clothing stores, office supply stores, electronics stores and, of course, online, according to the study.

As another benchmark relating to the online part, the latest IBM Online Retail Sales Index shows that mobile sales now represent 19% of total online sales, an increase of 28% from last year.



As online usage continues to migrate from desktop to mobile, the influence of mobile on purchase behavior is destined to only increase.

Like all commerce, back-to-school shopping has moved from primarily being done at home on a desktop and in a physical store, to happening everywhere and all the time.

Almost a quarter (24%) of families already are shopping for school items and almost half (49%) will shop three to four weeks before school, according to the NRF study.

Merchants’ sites are even more in the crosshairs of mobile shoppers, with the number of consumers using a mobile device to visit a retailer’s site hitting nearly 27%, up more than 35% from last year.

In yet another back-to-school study, Deloitte found that shoppers are going online and turning to their smartphones to buy. Researchers found that more than a third (36%) plan to shop online, following only discount and office supply stores as the primary shopping choice.

Mobile shoppers are looking for an advantage. Deloitte found that competitive pricing remains the top mobile incentive.

Two-thirds (66%) of shoppers plan to use their smartphones to get price information while a majority (60%) plan to find discounts, coupons or sale information.

The mobile influence on shopping behavior is increasing.

And with at least a part of $72.5 billion in back-to-school spending on the line, that’s no small change.

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