August 14, 2009, 12:00 AM

Parents may not buy school supplies online—but many will nab coupons there

Mom and dad don’t plan to buy back-to-school supplies and gear online—but most will look there for promotion codes and coupons before hitting the stores, according to a survey from online consumer savings site CoolSavings.com.

Mom and dad don’t plan to buy back-to-school supplies and gear online-but most will look there for promotion codes and coupons before hitting the stores, according to a survey from online consumer savings site CoolSavings.com.

In the July online survey of 1,100 shoppers who will buy back-to-school items, 97% said they planned to shop in stores rather than online. At the same time, virtually all surveyed will look for bargains, with 88% saying they planned to use coupons. 64% of that number said they’ll use digital coupons, with a breakdown of 35% who will use printable online coupons, 26% who will use coupon codes gathered online, and 3% who will use mobile coupons.

39% of those using coupons said they would find them in newspaper inserts. “What’s noteworthy is that while back-to-school purchases are overwhelmingly made in-store, the use of digital coupons-those hunted out online or received via mobile phones-is extremely high for such a traditional shopping season. In fact, our study found that the use of printable coupons is now neck-and-neck with the use of newspaper coupons,” says Matt Wise, president of CoolSavings parent company Q Interactive.

31% of those surveyed say they plan to seek out coupon sites online, and 22% will look for coupons in e-mails from retailers.

Despite the economy, most shoppers are not reducing back-to-school spending, the survey found. 67% say they plan to spend the same amount of money or more this year than they did last year. 44% of teens responding said they’ll spend their own money and 35% of shoppers said their children will have the greatest impact on their buying decisions. Cited by 22% of those surveyed, product quality had the next highest impact on purchasing, followed by brand preference, cited by 6%.

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