An overwhelming majority of consumers (90%) say they will likely change their back-to-school shopping behavior this year because of economic concerns, according to a survey from Deloitte.
Some 71% of consumers say they will spend less than last year on back-to-school purchases, and 88% plan to shop at discount/value department stores. Almost half (48%) plan to reduce their household spending by more than $100.
Though consumers will continue to buy school supplies, such as paper, pencils and notebooks (95%), clothes (92%), shoes (86%) and backpacks/book bags (68%), many indicated they intend to cut back on these purchases.
Some 83% say they will spend less on clothes, while 48% said they will spend less on shoes and 30% will spend less on backpacks/book bags. Spending on basic supplies will take a lighter hit, with only 29% saying they will cut spending on them.
Other planned changes in shopping behavior:
- 79% will buy more back-to-school items on sale
- 70% will buy only what the family needs
- 68% will buy more lower-priced items
- 53% will use more store coupons
- 46% will shop at different – less expensive – stores than usual
- 45% will put off buying certain items for as long as possible
- 33% will buy more private label items
- 27% will research more products online, to find the best price
- 37% will shop at dollar stores
“Consumers have been pessimistic for several months, primarily because of the strains on their budgets from higher gas and food prices,” said Stacy Janiak, Deloitte’s US retail leader. “These survey results indicate that consumers will likely stick to the basics this fall, and parents may be saying ‘no’ more often as they head to the register.”
Some 41% of survey respondents say they will seek out “green” products this back-to-school season, and 31% say they will seek out green retailers.
“The green issue has captured the consumer’s attention,” said Janiak. “But the jury is still out on how much intention will translate into action.”
About the survey: The survey was conducted online by an independent research company July 11-14, 2008 among a sample of 5,035 consumers.