After Two Years of Increased Consumer Spending, Survey Predicts a 10% Decrease in 2013
Discount and Online Stores Will Be Beneficiaries of Tighter Budgets, Shifting Consumer Buying Habits
Brand Keys 2013 Back-to-School report card is in. Households with school-age children (pre-Kl through 12th grade) plan a big cut-back in back-to-school spending, a predicted decrease of 10% or an average spend this year of just over $600.00 according to the annual survey conducted by Brand Keys, the New York-based consumer loyalty and engagement research consultancy.
Average anticipated spending in the major back-to-school categories, are all down from last year.
- Clothing: $301.00 (-29%)
- Shoes (athletic & dress) $110.00 (-23%)
- Computers/Electronics / Tablets / Smartphones: $150.00 (-32%)
- Supplies $ 39.00 (-60%)
- Books/Study Aids $ 10.00 (-56%)
Some of what were seeing reflects concerns of a slowing economic recovery, but the specific back-to-school figures also represent a shift in consumer buying habits, said Robert Passikoff, Brand Keys founder and president. Retailers may be running Back-to-School ads right now, but theyve been discounting and couponing for the past seven months. Educated consumers have already stockpiled supplies for the first day of school.
In addition to the existence of the low-lower-lowest pricing marketplace, bigger ticket items like tablets and smartphones and computers, which in years past had been traditionally purchased at the start of the school year, are now purchased throughout the year. Parents arent upgrading a mobile device just because classes are starting, said Passikoff. Although theres no way they can get around childrens growth spurts, so clothing and shoes took less of a hit.
That noted, theres a more unbalanced distribution this year in terms of retail outlets where consumers intend to shop for for back-to-school with even bigger shifts to the retailers that consumers believe will provide the best deals, noted Passikoff, for everything, but particularly for clothing and shoes.
The breakdown of 2013 preferred retail categories versus last years reflects the overall consumer tenor and the findings in this years survey. Discount stores, online platforms and, secondarily, catalogs were the only categories to show any increase.
- Discount Stores: 97% (+4%)
- Online 72% (+34%)
- Department Stores: 28% (-44%)
- Office Supply: 25% (-55%)
- Specialty Retailers 30% (-10%)
- Catalogs 35% (+3%)
This years survey showed that 70% of consumers intend to wait until the middle-to-end of August period to shop just before schools open. The genesis of the shorter back-to-school purchase cycle is a consequence of increased levels of consumer expectations.
Retailers have spent more than a decade teaching consumers they can get something cheaper if they wait longer or look a harder, said Passikoff. So they are.
This year, the top 10 list of retailers showing the greatest increase in consumer intent-to-shop included:
- TJ Maxx / Kohls
- Best Buy / Footlocker
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