What to Expect This Back-to-School Season
The oppressive heat waves across the country have ended. Summer camps are coming to a close and children are scrambling to finish the reading lists they've ignored all summer. This can only mean one thing — the first day of school is just around the corner.
Drawing from a panel of 2 million consumers and the results of its Summer 2011 Shopper Intelligence survey, Compete examined what the hot-ticket items will be this back-to-school season and where consumers will be buying these goods.
The outlook for retailers is positive. Less than one out of five consumers plan to spend less than they did last year on back-to-school items. In fact, 25 percent are planning to spend more.
Forty percent of consumers will be going back-to-school shopping this year. Parents of children in elementary school represent the largest segment of back-to-school shoppers (44 percent), followed by parents of children in middle school or high school (43 percent), and parents of college students (14 percent). That said, marketers shouldn't gear all of their back-to-school messaging towards parents. One in five back-to-school shoppers are students themselves.
Given that the bulk of shopping will be conducted on behalf of students in primary and secondary school, it's no surprise that well over half of all shoppers will buy school supplies, clothing and shoes. Electronics (e.g., computers and printers) will also be in high demand. College essentials will be shopped by a smaller group of consumers.
Consumers will spend the most on electronics this back-to-school season, averaging $469 per person, which isn't entirely unexpected given the high-ticket price on those items. Students will be well dressed on their first day back to school, as shoppers will spend an average of $264 on clothing. They'll also be prepared for class with notebooks, binders, folders and pens, for which the average shopper will spend $183.