Continuing a five year trend, more consumers plan to shop online this year than last.
Amy Dusto , Associate Editor
This year more consumers are turning to the Internet to aid their back-to-school shopping, according to a survey from the National Retail Federation. 39.6% of consumers buying school supplies and clothes for their children plan to shop online, and 17.9% say concerns about the economy are the reason. These numbers are up from last year, when 31.7% of consumers planned to shop online and 15.3% cited the economy as why.
The trend towards e-commerce for back-to-school shopping has been continuing through five years of survey data, during which time the amount of consumers who plan shop online for the occasion has increased from 21.4% in 2007.
Consumer research organization BIGinsight conducted back-to-school and back-to-college surveys for the NRF between July 2 and 9 this year. It polled 8,509 consumers over the age of 18 about their spending plans.
More consumers will also look for back-to-school savings online this year than last, 17.9% versus 15.3%, and use the Internet to comparison shop, 32.1% versus 29.8%. Similarly, more back-to-college shoppers also plan to shop online this year, 37.3% versus 33.4% last year, and comparison shop on the web, 34.6% versus 30.7% last year. 20.5% of back-to-college shoppers say the economy is driving their move towards Internet shopping this year, compared with 18.8% last year.
The surveys also revealed that, altogether, consumers this year will spend an average of $688.62 on school supplies and clothing for their K-12 children, up from $603.63 last year. In total, they’ll spend $30.3 billion; with college students, $83.8 billion. And they all want sales. Responding to how the state of the economy affects their shopping plans, most K-12 shoppers (51.1%) say they’ll shop for sales more often, as did most college shoppers (41.2%).
The timing of back-to-school shopping will also spread out: Just 3.2% of consumers will wait more than one week after school starts to shop, 2.7% will shop the week school starts, 24.0% will start shopping one to two weeks before, 47.8% will start three to four weeks before and 22.3% may already be shopping, responding that they’d start at least two months in advance.
“We fully expect retailers to be aggressive with their promotions both in-store and online, keeping an eye on inventory levels as families look to spread out their shopping throughout the entire summer,” says NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay.