Two weeks before Labor Day is a great time for NRF and Shop.org’s annual back-to-school update. Prosper Insights & Analytics surveyed families in early August to find out how far along they were in preparing their children for the school year ahead. In this edition we’ve compiled the results of online shoppers with school-aged and college-aged students heading back to the classroom.
Here are highlights from the survey:
There’s some shopping left to do. The update for both back-to-school and back-to-college shoppers revealed families from both segments are wrapping up their spending.
The average family – both online and offline – has completed half of their back-to-school shopping, with college families about the same at 49 percent. The online-only data tells a similar story for the average family: 53 percent of families with students in grades K-12 have completed half their shopping, and 47 percent of back-to-college families are also half way done.
- What this means. Over one-third of online shoppers began buying supplies two months before the start of school, both for back-to-school and back-to-college purchases. Shopping earlier and often is a result of economic pressures, which remain as important factors in purchasing decisions. But families don’t have all their shopping wrapped up. Online shoppers will look for promotions in the last few weeks to continue to spread out spending and stretch budgets after school starts.
Success seen with coupons, sales and promotions. Digital deals have done well to help those who have started shopping. Over 40 percent of online back-to-school shoppers said up to half of their purchases were influenced by deals. The number is higher for for back-to-college shoppers, with more than 50 percent indicating that sales, coupons, and promotions influenced at least half of their purchases.
- What this means. This correlates nicely with July’s survey, when half said they planned to do more comparison shopping online. As summer turns into fall, it will be important for retailers to advertise what’s in stock online and in-store. In this new age of back-to-school marketing, multi-channel retailers that promote and fulfill the promise of seamless shopping will do well to attract those who might be waiting for the right deal to come right before or even after Labor Day.
Last-minute shopping sites. Overall, a quarter of back-to-school families will complete the remainder of their shopping online. For college shoppers and their families, more than one-third will wrap up purchases online. Department stores, discount stores and clothing stores websites are among the top places where both groups will look to finish up their lists.
- What this means. Keeping the pointers above in mind, retailers should keep seasonal promotions prominent on their sites. Shoppers in both groups intend to look online to mark off the remaining items on their lists.