Back-to-school shopping is one of the retail industry’s busiest seasons of the year. Now that summer is officially wrapping up, students and their parents spent the last few weeks scooping up everything necessary to make it through another school year.
At ChargeItSpot, we recently released our “2017 Back-to-School Sales Report,” which examined the shopping behavior of parents for this year's back-to-school shopping season. We collected responses from more than 300 shoppers at malls across the country.
Here’s a look at what we found.
Shoppers Turned to Mobile Coupon Apps to Find the Best Deals
With school supplies becoming both more expensive and high-tech, we found that parents were serious about finding the best deals. When asked where shoppers would primarily look for back-to-school deals, 30 percent cited mobile coupon apps as their main source for sales promotions. Other responses included online deal sites (19 percent), newspapers/magazines (12 percent), retail newsletters/catalogs (9 percent), social media (8 percent) and radio/TV (5 percent).
Even as parents move online to find deals, the majority prefer to do their shopping the old fashioned way. Sixty-eight percent of respondents said they would prefer to do their back-to-school shopping in-store vs. 32 percent who would prefer to shop online only.
Most Parents Are Shopping for Only 1 Student
Of the shoppers polled, 42 percent said they would be shopping for only one student, 30 percent said two students, 15 percent said three students and 13 percent would be shopping for four or more students.
Shopping for fewer students translates to less total dollars spent, with most single-student parents planning to spend less than $300. Thirty percent of respondents said they would spend under $100, while another 30 percent fell in the $100-$300 range. Nineteen percent selected $300-$500, with the rest of respondents choosing the following: $500-$700 (11 percent), $700-$1,000 (5 percent) and more than $1,000 (6 percent).
28% of Consumers Started Back-to-School Shopping 1 Month Before School Began
Most consumers planned to start school shopping early, with 28 percent starting a month before school began and another 27 percent starting even earlier in the summer. Other respondents started a few weeks before school began (24 percent), a week before school began (24 percent) and after school begins (9 percent).
Many parents are spending the bulk of their back-to-school budget on items other than school supplies. Fifty-eight percent of parents planned on spending most of their money on clothing, compared to just 16 percent that said they would spend the most on traditional school supplies (e.g., pens, pencils, etc.).
When retailers look back on the shopping behaviors of the past few months, they’ll find that consumers valued digital coupons, began their shopping earlier in the summer, and still prefer shopping in brick-and-mortar stores rather than online. As shopper preferences continue to change, don’t be surprised if next summer’s back-to-school report looks a whole lot different.
Doug Baldasare is the CEO of ChargeItSpot, a provider of secure cell phone charging stations for retail stores.