WASHINGTON — Unusually hot summer weather throughout the country drove consumers into stores that triggered an earlier start to back-to-school than last year, according to the latest Back-to-School/College Consumer Intentions and Actions survey, conducted by Bigresearch, Aug. 3-10, for the National Retail Federation.
The average family said they completed 43.2% of their school shopping, compared to 41.6% at this time last year. Similarly, families of college students have completed 43.1% of their shopping, vs. 41% the previous year.
NRF says more than one-quarter (26.8%) have yet to start shopping for BTS. Not surprisingly, more families this year said their school purchases were influenced by coupons, sales and/or promotions. For 17% of families with children in grades K-12, they said bargains and coupons spurred all of their BTS purchases, up from nearly 15% last year.
In a recent SN report, supermarket retailers said BTS is more competitive than ever and they have had to make adjustments to the length of time they leave promotional displays on the sales floor due to different start times to the year in various school districts.
The NRF survey also found more families will use the Internet for school purchases this year. Up from 12.2% last year, 16% of K-12th grade families will finish their shopping online.
Additionally, more families will shop at office supply stores (32.4% vs. 27.3% in 2009). Other anticipated shopping destinations include discount stores (59.3%), department store (42.7%), clothing stores (34.3%), electronics stores (9.8%), catalogs (4.7%), drug stores (11.1%) and thrift store/resale shop (11.4%). Supermarkets were not listed in survey results.