School’s not out but marketers already planning for back-to-school shopping

It may seem a little premature given that school is still in session, but the first back-to-school study has been released.

About 62% of households plan to reduce back-to- school spending compared to 2015, according to a survey by Bizrate Insights, a division of Connexity. Average spend will be $606, or $1,086 for households with college-age children.
However, although back-to-school shopping typically heats up in July, 5% of respondents had started by April and another 7% plan to start before June. More than half will begin back-to-school shopping between late July and early August, with early August the most popular starting time.
In-store use of mobile devices will play a big role in back-to-school shopping. The top ways back-to-school shoppers will use mobile for back-to-school shopping, online and in-store are researching products (69%), buying products (48%), comparing prices in store (41%) and looking for coupons in-store (37%).
When broken down by gender, male shoppers plan to spend more on back-to-school items, particularly those shopping for school-age children. However, nearly half (49%) of all shoppers agree that quality is more important than price.
Brand loyalty is also still a factor, as 30% of back-to-school shoppers say it affects their decision to buy. Ratings and reviews also matter to back-to-school shoppers: one-fourth are influenced by store ratings.
Other findings show that the effect of children’s preferences on back-to-school purchases increases as the children get older — from 49% for parents of preschool children up to 65% for high school parents.
“Retailers should be ready to support shoppers across channels by the end of June,” said Hayley Silver, VP of Bizrate Insights. “Product availability, price and coupons are important, but be sure to also include indicators of quality, such as ratings, reviews and guarantees.”

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