Back to School Stats 2014

August 1, 2014

NRF-Back-to-School-Spending-2004-2014-Aug2014Families with children in grades K-12 will spend an average of $699.28 this back-to-school season on apparel, shoes, supplies and electronics, finds the NRF in a recent survey. While that represents a 5% increase from last year’s average per-family spend, total spending is expected to remain mostly flat at $26.5 billion due to fewer students in households. The study is one of many looking at back-to-school spending trends, including popular shopping destinations and purchases.

According to the NRF’s study, families will spend the most on electronics or computer-related equipment purchases ($346.46 per spending family), exceeding the amount spent on clothing and accessories (excluding shoes), with that per-family average coming in at $249.20. Buyers are predicted to spend $134.51 on shoes and $109.49 on school supplies such as notebooks, folders, pencils, backpacks and lunchboxes.

Shoppers will most likely be heading to discount stores (64.4%) to make those purchases, says the NRF, with department stores (59.1%) and clothing stores (53.8%) also popular. About 4 in 10 will make purchases online, consistent with the past couple of years.

Below, a list of data points from other research covering the back-to-school shopping season, along with links to the research:

  • Last year, searches for “back to school supplies” and “school supplies” were most popular during the month of August, while searches for clothes picked up steam during the first two weeks after school started (Experian Marketing Services);
  • For apparel and accessories brands, email-driven back-to-school revenue peaked in the first half of August last year (Experian);
  • Of all back-to-school shopping venues, discounters account for 23.7% share of consumer destinations, as 8 in 10 households will shop at these venues this year (International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC));
  • In total, brick-and-mortar is expected to comprise almost 90% share of back-to-school shopping (ICSC);
  • A majority 59% share of consumers will do the bulk of their shopping in August, with another 19% doing most of their shopping in September (ICSC);
  • The top motivating factor for purchases at a specific store location is sales (ICSC);
  • The most influential factors in the purchasing process are school-supplied lists, student’s wish lists, and product reviews, according to a survey of parents with school-age or adult students in the house, all of whom own smartphones (Baynote);
  • The biggest influencers of in-store purchases, per survey respondents, are paper catalogs and Amazon (Baynote);
  • More than 80% will take advantage of email promotions this back-to-school season (Baynote);
  • The average amount that parents and children expect to spend this year on back-to-school items has dropped significantly from last year (Deloitte);
  • Female shoppers (59%) are more likely than their male counterparts (49%) to say they’ll buy more back-to-school items “on sale” this year (Deloitte);
  • School supplies will be most in-demand this year, expected to be purchased by 96% of shoppers, followed by clothes and shoes (Deloitte);
  • Discount, value and department stores are the leading destinations, though slightly fewer shoppers plan to spend at them this year (Deloitte);
  • Some 38% expect to shop at online sites, up a couple of points from last year and moving into the second rank of store types for the first time (Deloitte);
  • Parents say their biggest source of information on back-to-school items this year will be online (such as retailer websites and blogs), while children say their primary information source will be other friends (Deloitte);
  • Almost 1 in 5 respondents will use social media in their back-to-school shopping, most commonly to find out about promotions (Deloitte);
  • The top use of smartphones for back-to-school shopping will be to get/download discounts, coupons and sale information (Deloitte);
  • Roughly 8 in 10 parents of children entering kindergarten through college will “webroom,” meaning that they will browse online and then go to a physical store to make their purchase (Accenture);
  • When choosing a retailer for back-to-school, pricing, item quality and a broad selection are parents’ most important factors (Accenture);
  • 4 in 10 parents say that retailers’ ads influence their decision-making on when to do their shopping (Accenture); and
  • Parents’ top reason for shopping online is to search for deals and the best prices (Accenture).

About the Data: NRF’s 2014 Back-to-School and Back-to-College spending surveys were conducted for NRF by Prosper Insights & Analytics. The poll of 6178 consumers was conducted July 1-8. The consumer polls have a margin of error of plus or minus 1.3 percentage points. The total spending figure is an extrapolation of U.S. adults 18 and older.

The ICSC-Goldman Sachs consumer tracking survey was conducted by Opinion Research Corporation between July 10 and July 13, 2014.

Baynote and the e-tailing group conducted an email survey of 1,001 parents with school age or adult students in the house between July 7 and July 13, 2014. One hundred percent of those surveyed own a smartphone.

The Deloitte survey was conducted online by an independent research company between July 5 and 10, 2014. The survey polled a sample of 1,063 parents of school- aged children and has a margin of error for the entire sample of plus or minus three percentage points.

Accenture conducted an online survey in June 2014 using a representative sample of 500 U.S. parents of children entering kindergarten through college (undergraduate degrees).

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