Consumers to Begin Back-​To-​School Shopping Later, Look for Internet Discounts

PriceGrabber, a part of Experian, recently released the results of its Back-​to-​School Shopping Forecast survey, revealing that the vast majority of consumers (95%) are planning to use some sort of money saving technique when back-​to-​school shopping, and they plan to start shopping later in 2011 than they did in 2010. 

CONSUMERS PLAN TO SHOP LATER, TAKE ADVANTAGE OF INTERNET DISCOUNTS

It's the start of summer and the back-​to-​school shopping season is on the horizon, but survey data reveals that many money-​savvy consumers are strategically planning to delay their shopping this year. According to PriceGrabber survey data, 49% of back-​to-​school shoppers plan to make purchases in August, compared to 38% who said that in 2010.  Only 14% said they will begin shopping in June, versus 26% in 2010.

This shift to a later launch of back-​to-​school shopping can be attributed in part to the overwhelming number of consumers indicating that they will use the Internet, which allows shoppers to compare prices and take advantage of last-​minute discounts. PriceGrabber survey data found that 69% of consumers will shop online or use comparison shopping Websites, and 41% will visit retailer Websites to print out coupons.

MOST SHOPPERS PLAN TO SPREAD OUT PURCHASES

While shoppers are keen on taking advantage of last-​minute Internet discounts, they continue to be wary of the economic climate and plan to spread out purchases. Fifty-​five percent of back-​to-​school shoppers said they will distribute the cost of purchases over a longer time period.

"While the economic climate is beginning to improve, we are not surprised to see that back-​to-​school shoppers remain cautiously optimistic," stated Graham Jones, general manager of PriceGrabber. "Further analysis of the data supports the idea that consumers are careful to distribute their purchases over an extended period, if possible. However, shoppers are also becoming increasingly savvy and open to taking advantage of online shopping solutions that they may not have considered in the past, as can be seen by many consumers' decisions to begin shopping at a later date."

CONSUMERS TO SPEND SAME AMOUNT OR LESS THAN IN 2010

Consumers will continue to be budget-​conscious when it comes to their back-​to-​school purchases. Of the consumers who are shopping for back-​to-​school items this year, 52% plan to spend as much as they did last year and 35% plan to spend less. Only 13% plan to spend more this year because of the economic recovery.

"According to the data, shoppers are still focused on spending the same amount or less on back-​to-​school purchases this year, even as the economy improves," said Jones. "However, as consumers become increasingly accustomed to a frugal standard of living, they also become more creative in how they save. We are seeing more shoppers engage with the new technologies that are changing the retail landscape by comparing prices online and watching for price drops."

[Source:  "Back-​to-​School Shopping Forecast survey."  PriceGrabber/​Experian.  15 June 2011.  Web.  17 June 2011.]