Why do stores rule for back-to-school?

by | Aug 3, 2017 | Public Relations

As back-to-school shopping gears up, nearly 9 in 10 (89 percent) of consumers plan to take to shopping centers and malls looking for the latest deals, offerings and experiences related to their school supply purchases, according to new research from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).

The Council recently conducted its annual Back-To-School Spending survey, revealing that the average back-to-school shopper is expected to spend $353.20. Those making purchases for children in grades K-12 expect to spend $309.60 on average, while those buying for college/post-secondary plan to spend $437.80 on average.

Shoppers looking to make back-to-school related purchases are in search of the best deals and promotions being offered. Two-fifths (40 percent) will wait to start back-to-school shopping until they see advertisements or sale prices in stores. Nearly 90 percent say they are influenced by promotions in terms of the amount they spend and the items they purchase.

“Back-to-school is one of the shopping seasons where we really find people looking for specific items at the best price,” said Tom McGee, president and CEO of ICSC, in a news release. “Consumers are more informed than ever and research prices and products prior to making a purchase so it isn’t surprising that so many shoppers are waiting for sales and discounts before buying their back-to-school items.”

Discount stores continue to be the most popular venue for back-to-school shoppers with about 69 percent of them shopping those retailers. Office supply stores (37 percent) and department stores (32 percent) will also see strong activity during this back-to-school season.

Additionally, back-to-school shoppers will utilize their mobile devices while in-store shopping for merchandise. Of the 81 percent who will do so, 58 percent will compare prices, 39 percent will download digital coupons, 38 percent will check availability/inventory, and 30 percent will take pictures of items that might be purchased.

When it comes to shopping online, 30 percent of consumers intend to order items online from retailers with a physical store presence and pick them up at these locations. Already, among shoppers who have used the click-and-collect method, 81 percent have made an additional purchase(s) at other stores or establishments when picking up their online order.

Other key findings from the survey include:

Physical interaction with goods is the top reason for back-to-school shoppers to visit stores

  • 46 percent of those shoppers who will visit stores cited the “ability to see, touch, or try on the merchandise”
  • 36 percent of those shoppers who will visit stores cited the “ability to browse/ease of buying specific items”
  • 35 percent of those shoppers who will visit stores cited the “convenience of one-stop shopping”
  • 34 percent of those shoppers who will visit stores cited “avoiding shipping fees”

For many shoppers, bringing their children increases overall expenditures

  • 68 percent of back-to-school shoppers say that when shopping with their children, they tend to spend more than if they had shopped on their own
  • 28 percent of back-to-school shoppers were driven to the store by their children

The ICSC Back-to-School Spending survey was conducted online by Opinion Research Corporation on behalf of ICSC from July 6-9, 2017. The survey represents a demographically representative sample of 1,010 U.S. adults 18 years of age and older.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter


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