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
% of Respondents Expecting to Spend Less
Paper, pencils, notebooks, etc.
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:
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
% of Respondents Planning to Shop There
Discount / Value Dept. Stores
Office Supply / Computer
Traditional Department Store
Home Electric Stores
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.