With the back-to-school season in full swing, consumers continue to employ money-saving strategies, which may include waiting until the last minute to get better deals.
According to consumer insights company Mintel, more than half (55%) of U.S. parents believe postponing back-to-school shopping until the end of the season is a good way to save money. Meanwhile, nearly 90% of parents use coupons to save money when back-to-school shopping.
“There’s a lot of pressure on parents and teachers for purchasing school supplies,” Bryant Harland, technology analyst at Mintel, tells Marketing Daily, about the desire to save money on back-to-school shopping. “For more than half of states, education budgets haven’t recovered from the recession [necessitating more out-of-pocket purchases].”
Although most back-to-school shopping is still done in-store (31% going to office supply stores and 26% going to dollar stores), e-commerce is becoming a more prominent force, with 42% of consumers shopping at Internet-only retailers. With about two-thirds of consumers in the 25-44 demographic engaging in back-to-school shopping, it’s likely that online shopping will gain even more prominence.
“Retailers need to start to push digital engagement,” Harland says. “The demographic that is [shopping] the most is going to be multichannel consumers.”
When it comes to in-store shopping, however, younger consumers are more likely to turn it into an event, heading out with friends and family. While this can be more fun for them, it can also lead to a greater need for convenience and more purchases.
“The process is made slower because they have to consider the needs of multiple people, and that leads to more impulse buys,” Harland says.
Indeed, consumers are looking for more convenience when it comes to back-to-school shopping, whether it be through free shipping for online purchases (23%) and a faster checkout process in-store (35%). Other frustrations included limited product availability, and inconvenience buying or returning items. Addressing some of those issues would improve the back-to-school shopping experience and increased customers, Harland says.
“Parents are strapped for time and waiting could cause unwanted stress as consumers scramble to get everything they need, creating a desire for added convenience later in the shopping season,” he says.