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Study predicts decline in back-to-school shopping

Denver -- Thirty-one percent of survey respondents said they won't be shopping for any back-to-school products at all, up from 27.7% last year, according to research published by The Integer Group. The results were in the latest issue of “The Checkout, an ongoing shopper behavior study conducted by Integer and M/A/R/C Research.

With fewer people shopping, certain channels will see a drop in traffic. Integer predicts that mass, clothing, and drug will take the largest hit, losing 2.3%, 3.2%, and 5.5% of shoppers this year compared to last.

"The shoppers who are heading out this year plan to visit fewer channels, meaning retailers will have a harder time maintaining the same level of foot traffic as last year. Retailers will have to strive harder to get shoppers through the door by investing more in order to entice people with promotions, deals, proper communication, and incentives outside of the store," said Craig Elston, senior VP, insight & strategy at The Integer Group.

The study also shows that:

  • Only 38% of people said they would shop a month or more before school starts, compared to 45% last year.
  • Sixty-two percent said they would wait until at least two to three weeks before school starts to begin back-to-school shopping, despite planning many weeks in advance.
  • Shoppers have heightened their perceptions of private label products. This year, 38% of back-to-school shoppers are buying more private label products compared to 31% last year.