June 18, 2012, 4:33 PM

Online shoppers will increase their back-to-school spending this year

A PriceGrabber survey projects a big jump for online purchases of school supplies.

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More online shoppers say they plan to increase spending on school supplies this year than did a year ago, according to survey results released today by PriceGrabber.

The shopping comparison provider says 46% of online shoppers expect to spend more for school supplies this year than they did in 2011. By comparison, 13% of consumers said they planned to spend more in 2011, PriceGrabber says. This year, 35% of online shoppers expect to spend the same amount of money on school supplies as last year, while 19% said they will spend less.

PriceGrabber based its findings of a survey of 4,450 U.S. online shoppers conducted between May 22 and June 5.

79% of respondents plan to buy school supplies via e-retailers, a spokeswoman for PriceGrabber says—lower than the 86% who plan to buy inside bricks-and-mortar stores. 8% of consumers will buy supplies via tablets, with 6% buying via smartphones. Respondents could select more than one answer, and a PriceGrabber spokeswoman says there is no comparative data from 2011.

Many of the online shoppers surveyed by PriceGrabber already have started their search for school supplies. 17% reported they will start their back-to-school shopping in June, with 35% waiting until July, 44% until August and the rest until September.

“From last year’s holiday shopping season through the middle of 2012, we have seen consumers starting to shop earlier surrounding major shopping seasons and holidays, and we expect this trend to continue this back-to-school shopping season,” says Graham Jones, general manager of PriceGrabber. “While PriceGrabber survey data reveals that many consumers are planning to spend more money this back-to-school shopping season, a few are still hesitant about spending, leading shoppers to search for deals even earlier to take advantage of retailer incentives and discounts such as free shipping, coupons and sales.”

PriceGrabber released no projected spending amounts.

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