4 in 10 Back to School Shoppers Will Spend $250+

August 8, 2011

deloitte-back-to-school-spending-aug11.gifAbout four in 10 (43%) US back-to-school shoppers with at least one child in grades K-12 this fall will spend $250 or more on back to school items, according to a July 2011 Deloitte survey. Results from the 2011 Deloitte Back to School Survey indicate this figure includes 28% who will spend $250-$499, as well as 8% who will spend $500-$749.

Only a combined 7% will spend $750 or more on back to school items this year. In contrast, the highest single percentage of shoppers (39%) will spend $100-$249.

Budget Cuts Prompt Spending

deloitte-back-to-school-spending-reasons-aug11.gifFifty-five percent of respondents expect to spend the same amount on back to school shopping as they did last year, while 31% expect to spend more. Of the 31% planning to spend more, a leading 60% say they seem to spend more every year. However, the highest percentage giving a specific reason (32%) say that school budget cuts are behind higher spending, while 28% (more than one answer permitted) cite children needing more expensive items, such as computers.

School Supplies, Clothes Popular Items

deloitte-school-in-demand-aug-2011.JPGAbout nine in 10 back to school shoppers say they need to buy back-to-school items such as pencils and paper (94%), as well as clothes (88%). While about eight in 10 plan to buy shoes (79%), this figure is down 7% from 85% in 2010 and down 8% from 86% in 2009.

In addition, the 63% saying they need to buy a backpack/bookbag/lunchbox is down a significant 9% from 69% in 2010 and 12.5% from 72% in 2009.

9 in 10 Will Shop at Discounters

A leading nine in 10 (92%) back to school shoppers will shop at discount/value/department stores. Office supply stores come in a distant second with 44% of back to school shoppers planning to buy items there, up 22% from 36% in 2009.

While dollar stores rank third with 32% of back to school shoppers planning to use this vertical, the percentage has fallen slightly from 33% in 2010 and a much larger 20% from 40% in 2009.

Other Findings

  • Two-thirds (65%) of respondents say low prices are the most important attribute of a retailer for back-to-school shopping.
  • Half of respondents indicate their children will spend $51 or more of their own money on back to school shopping.
  • 64% of respondents plan to buy more items on sale this year than last year.
  • 35% of respondents plan to use social media to aid back to school shopping, up 21% from 29% last year.

Amex: Average Family Will Spend $800 on Back to School

The average US family of four plans to spend $800 on back to school purchases this year but two-thirds of U.S. parents (67%) say they will need to make trade-offs to afford these expenses, according to the July 2011 American Express Spending & Saving Tracker. Clothing ($290), shoes ($110), and school supplies ($100) top back to school shopping lists.

About the Data: The survey was commissioned by Deloitte and conducted online by an independent research company between July 5 and 11, 2011. The survey polled a sample of 1,000 parents of school-aged children.

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