Commentary

40% Of Back-To-School Shoppers Use Smartphones For In-Store Research

More than ever, mobile devices are a crucial part of the back-to-school, in-store shopping experience.

That’s according to new research from AdColony, which found more than 40% of shoppers say they are using their smartphones while shopping in-store.

The shoppers say they are using phones to research competitor prices, get discounts, take pictures for future reference, and look up product reviews.

Fully 70% say they usually use their smartphones to help in BTS shopping, while 20% prefer desktops and or laptops, and only 10% report using a tablet.

Meanwhile, when students start to hit their teen years, smartphones become an essential school supply.

Some 90% of BTS shoppers say they plan to buy a smartphone for students in middle school or higher education, and a 20% plan to buy a smartphone for preschool/elementary students.

Male BTS shoppers skew slightly younger than females. In fact, 66% of male shoppers are 18 to 44 years old, while 54% of female shoppers are 35 to 64 years old.

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That said, moms are more likely than dads to do such shopping. Among parents planning to shop for their kids, 62% are females and 35% male.

Moreover, despite the continued growth of ecommerce and m-commerce, online shopping has yet to replace in-store back-to-school shopping, as 38% of respondents say they plan to shop both in-store and online this fall.

While some items can be easily bought online, shoppers might want to see clothing and electronics in person before purchasing.

General big-box stores that carry both school supplies and other school essentials, such as Walmart and Target, are the preferred brick-and-mortar BTS shopping venues. Consumers are less inclined to visit more specialized stores like Staples and Best Buy. 

Consumers are less inclined to visit more specialized stores like Staples and BestBuy, AdColony found, because big-box stores offer not only school supplies but also what many consumers consider to be “essential items.”
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