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Published
Aug 23, 2017
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Back to school shopping has been slow as families wait to buy

Published
Aug 23, 2017

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF)'s annual back to school survey, most U.S. families are not even halfway done with their back to school shopping. Roughly a quarter of families have not even started.


The study revealed that only 13 percent of families shopping for K-12 were finished with their back to school shopping. Almost a quarter of these families, or 23 percent, had not started shopping at all.

The study also revealed that most families shopping for K-12 had not hit the midpoint of their shopping. Estimates showed families have completed 45 percent of their shopping which is down from 48 percent from last year. This is the lowest level of back to school shopping reported since 2012's 40 percent.

NRF forecasted families would spend $83.6 billion on back to school shopping this year. NRF broke that down into $29.5 billion for K-12 and $54.1 billion spent on back to college. NRF also showed an uptick in the number of parents planning to shop for back to school two months before school started from 22 percent to 27 percent this year.

Despite NRF's research, 75% of K-12 parents still need to buy back to school apparel. 58% still need to buy their children new shoes.

Families reported being most influenced by school shopping lists and required items. The survey revealed 41 percent of shoppers were influenced by coupons, which is the lowest figure in the history of the study.

To finish their shopping, 55% plan to purchase items at department stores while 49% will go to discount stores. 33% will shop online.

Families preparing students for college have also delayed their shopping. More than a quarter of college families reported not having started their shopping. Only 12% were complete.

College students will predominantly shop online. 41 percent reported they will get their supplies, clothes and shoes online. Department stores, college bookstores and clothing stores will lag behind online channels for these sales.

Over a quarter of college students will make purchases influenced by word of mouth.

NRF conducted the survey over the first week in August in partnership with Prosper Insights & Analytics. Prosper Insights & Analytics surveyed over 7,200 U.S. consumers from August 1 through August 9.




 

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