Back-to-School Shoppers Eye Item’s Value, Necessity

July 30, 2012

npd-back-to-school-shopping-decisions-july2012.png79% of back-to-school shoppers will look at an item’s value when deciding whether or not to purchase it, according to July 2012 survey results from The NPD Group. This is the top factor driving their purchase decisions, though it is down from 82% last year. 56% say they will buy an item because it is required, up from 45% last year.

The NPD Group survey shows that children will also be an influence in shopping decisions this year, with 28% of respondents expecting to buy an item because their child wanted it, up from 22% last year. Friends, though, will influence only 2% of respondents to make a purchase.

Dept. Stores, Footwear Outlets To See Traffic

Further data from The NPD Group study reveals that 26% of respondents will be shopping at department stores this year, up from 20% last year. Closely following, one-quarter will shop at footwear specialty stores, also up markedly, from 18% last year. Slightly less popular are online shopping (16%, unchanged from last year), apparel specialty retailers (15%, up from 13%), and warehouse clubs (13%, down from 14%).

Department stores are also one of the more popular destinations for back-to-school shoppers responding to a recent NRF/BIGinsight survey, though that survey found a significant rise in the proportion who will be shopping online.

Free Shipping, Sales Top Retailer Tactics

Meanwhile, recently-released data from PriceGrabber shows that online consumers will also use a variety of ways to save money this year. Leading the way will be online and comparison shopping websites (62%), followed by shopping at discount, bargain and outlet stores (56%). The NRF survey (see link above ) found that roughly two-thirds of back-to-school shoppers will make at least one purchase from a discount store this year, making it the top destination for these respondents.

Meanwhile, according to PriceGrabber, the retailer tactics that will sway most purchases this year among online consumers are: free shipping (74%); sales (72%); price cuts (66%); coupons (63%); online promotions (43%); and price matching and in-store only promotions (both at 28%).

Other Findings:

  • According to The NPD Group survey, 31% of back-to-school shoppers will spend more this year, compared to 24% who will spend less. This increased spending was also found by the NRF, PriceGrabber, and ShopperTrak.
  • The NPD Group survey results find that the proportion of respondents buying footwear this year has grown to 55%, from 45% last year. This mirrors results from the NRF study, which revealed that consumers plan to spend an average of $129.20 on shoes this year, representing a 23.6% increase from last year.
  • 37% of the PriceGrabber survey respondents expect that they will compare prices using their mobile phones while in-store this year during the back-to-school shopping season. 14% plan to do some shopping from their device.

About the Data: The NPD Group data is based on a poll of 2,500 members of The NPD Group’s online consumer panel. US adults age 18 and older participated in the study, which was fielded between July 2 and July 10, 2012.

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