WASHINGTON -- Retailers could be affected by the Internet's growing impact this back-to-school season.
A study commissioned by the National Retail Federation here of 1,000 parents with children ages six to 17 found 14.1% plan to use the Internet to aid their back-to-school shopping. Significantly, 57.5% of those are shopping for school supplies on-line for the first time. Market Facts Inc., Arlington, Va., conducted the survey.
"We suspect that the increased use of the Internet for purchases has a lot to do with the growing influence children have over how their parents shop," said Tracy Mullin, NRF president. "We fully expect the next generation of Internet shoppers to make their presence felt as they look for the latest in back-to-school fashions and supplies."
The survey revealed the most popular products for on-line purchase, including clothing, 51.5%; school supplies, 23.4%; books, 20.0%; and computer hardware and software, 17.7%. Nearly 70% of parents said they plan to spend $100 on back-to-school shopping on-line. About 10% said $76 to $100.
"The Internet will have an impact on the way school supplies are purchased, but it will be very minor," said Steve Jacober, president of the School Home and Office Products Association, Dayton, Ohio. Although Internet sites like AtYourOffice.com, BigTree.com and CyberSupply.com will begin to change consumer back-to-school shopping patterns, most school supplies will continue to be purchased in traditional stores in the short term, he said.