It’s hard to believe that we’re just now getting into the swing of summer and it’s already time to starting thinking about the back-to-school shopping season. Lo and behold though…
PriceGrabber just rolled out its annual Back-to-School Shopping Forecast survey and the results show a bit of a shift in back-to-school shopping plans for 2011 compared to just a year ago.
Primarily, the findings reveal that an overwhelming majority of consumers (95 percent) intend to employ money-saving techniques during the busy back-to-school shopping season, and that many will start such shopping later this year than they did in 2010.
Of the more than 2,600 U.S. online consumers that PriceGrabber polled for the survey, 49 percent plan to start making back-to-school purchases in August compared to 38 percent a year ago. While 26 percent of shoppers made back-to-school purchases in June of 2010, only 14 percent plan on doing so this year.
How do we explain this noteworthy change? PriceGrabber maintains that it is due in large part to the fact that even more shoppers will rely on the web to make fill their back-to-school shopping lists this year, relying on price comparison services and last-minute discounts available online. The survey shows that 69 percent of consumers plan to shop online or use comparison sites and 41 percent will visit retailer sites directly to print out coupons.
“While the economic climate is beginning to improve, we are not surprised to see that back-to-school shoppers remain cautiously optimistic,” stated Graham Jones, general manager of PriceGrabber. “Further analysis of the data supports the idea that consumers are careful to distribute their purchases over an extended period, if possible. However, shoppers are also becoming increasingly savvy and open to taking advantage of online shopping solutions that they may not have considered in the past, as can be seen by many consumers’ decisions to begin shopping at a later date.”
As was the case in 2010, the unstable economic climate still has many consumers wary at this time of year and planning to spread out their purchases: 55 percent said they will distribute the cost of back-to-school purchases over a longer period of time.
Nevertheless, regardless of when they buy back-to-school items, consumers still have a collective budget-conscious outlook on the process: 52 percent plan to spend as much as they did last year and 35 percent intend to spend less. Only 13 percent indicated they’ll be spending more than they did in 2010.
“According to the data, shoppers are still focused on spending the same amount or less on back-to-school purchases this year, even as the economy improves,” said Jones. “However, as consumers become increasingly accustomed to a frugal standard of living, they also become more creative in how they save. We are seeing more shoppers engage with the new technologies that are changing the retail landscape by comparing prices online and watching for price drops.”
PriceGrabber conducted the survey between May 12 and 19, 2011.
So what about you? Are you thinking about back-to-school shopping already? If so, how do your plans compare with those in the survey? Leave us your thoughts and comments!