Clothing, accessories to make up more than half of US back-to-school sales
According to a survey conducted by Deloitte, clothing and accessories are expected to account for 54% of all back-to-school spending in the U.S. this year, which should total around $27.8 billion, or $519 per student.
After apparel and accessories, school supplies are set to account for the second largest chunk of spending at 22%, followed by electronic gadgets (13%) and computers and hardware (11%).
Despite representing a relatively small percentage of this total, spending on electronics and gadgets is predicted to see strong growth of 29% compared to last year, with the 22% of back-to-school shoppers planning on purchasing products in these categories expecting to spend an average of $305 on them.
Interestingly, 56% of back-to-school purchases are still expected to occur in brick-and-mortar stores, although online shopping is gaining ground and is predicted to represent 29% of total spending, compared to 23% last year.
Among physical retailers, mass merchant stores are expected to come out on top, with 90% of survey respondents saying that they intended to shop at this kind of location. Online-only retailers have notably supplanted dollar stores as the second most popular shopping destination, another sign of the increasing importance of e-commerce.
The type of devices that back-to-school shoppers are using to engage with e-tailers is also changing: 60% of those surveyed said that they would be using their smartphones to shop, while the percentage of respondents who said they planned on using their PCs fell from 49% in 2018 to 42% this year.
As for the motivations behind the choice to shop with one retailer or another, price was at the forefront of most shoppers’ minds, with 69% of those surveyed saying that they would be on the lookout for sales and discounts while 57% said they would be prioritizing competitive prices.
“Price, product and convenience are the foundation of back-to-school shopping, like reading, writing and arithmetic," explained Rod Sides, vice chairman of Deloite LLP and U.S. retail, in a release. "Nearly all shoppers are in the market for school supplies, which tend to be most price-driven, and clothing, where children have the greatest influence among all categories in the survey. While big-ticket items have the lowest overall demand, they command the highest average spend."
The annual Deloitte Back-to-School survey was carried out between May 31 and June 6, 2019, and polled 1,200 parents with at least one child attending school in grades K–12 this fall.
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