An A.T. Kearney back-to-school shopping survey found 80% of these shoppers plan to spend at least as much or more than they did last year during the same period a year ago. The same percentage said they are open to using mobile shopping apps and personalized promotions while in stores.
The survey also reports that even though online sales continue to increase for retailers, about 57% of survey respondents say they are doing back-to-school buying in physical stores. They aren't buying any earlier than usual, though—despite back-to-school promotions starting earlier, just 4% had made their school purchases by July 4.
About 91% of respondents to the A.T. Kearney survey said competitive pricing is their main concern while doing back-to-school shopping, while 85% said a superior shopping experience in-store, online and via mobile was of high interest.
A.T. Kearney's survey delivers further evidence that the back-to-school shopping season, already the second-most lucrative shopping period after the holiday season, is continuing to grow, and worthy of much more attention and innovation by retailers.
While the overall spending increase is great news, the more significant findings of the survey have to do with mobile. The figure of 80% of respondents showing interest in using mobile apps and promotion while in-store is a full 30% higher than it was during last year's holiday season, the last time A.T. Kearney checked on that trend.
Retailers would love to see more consumers completing purchases via their smartphones, but these findings at least are enough to make the back-to-school shopping season a great period during which retailers can test and gauge the effectiveness of new omnichannel support capabilities.
Meanwhile, part of the allure of the back-to-school shopping season has been that—much like Christmas sales that seem to start before Halloween nowadays—the back-to-school season seems to start earlier every year. This survey disputes that notion, and suggests that retailers can wait a little longer to put school-related products on sale.
Still, back-to-school shopping is similar to holiday shopping in at least one other way. It's a big spending season that affects nearly every product category and retailer you can think of. It now encompasses everything from notebooks to tablet PCs to apparel to dorm room furniture. Oh, and pencils, of course.