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Survey: Majority of shoppers not planning to save for back-to-school

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Los Angeles A survey released Wednesday by PriceGrabber.com, a part of Experian, found that consumers plan to begin their back-to-school shopping early this year and are not planning on saving in advance for their purchasing.

The Back to School Shopping Forecast, which queried 1,718 online shoppers between May 12 and June 1, found that 26% plan to begin their back-to-school shopping before July. Thirty-one percent plan to begin their shopping in July, and 38% plan to start in August.

This early launch of back-to-school shopping can be attributed in part to the 49% of back-to-school shoppers planning to spread out their purchases in order to distribute the cost over a longer period of time, according to the survey.

Most shoppers are not planning to save up for back-to-school purchases. Early shopping trends and efforts to make purchases over an extended period of time may be affecting consumers' short-term saving patterns. When back-to-school shoppers were asked when they planned to begin saving for purchases this year, 64% said they are not planning to save. Nineteen percent of consumers started saving before April. Seventeen percent started saving between April and July.

"We are not surprised to see this new, optimistic trend of consumer frugality extend to back-to-school shopping," said Laura Conrad, president of PriceGrabber.com. "Further analysis of the data supports the idea that consumers are trying to absorb back-to-school spending in their monthly budgets by starting their shopping early to distribute their purchases."

The survey found that consumers plan to spend the same amount or less as last year.

Of the consumers who are shopping for back-to-school items this year, 45% plan to spend as much as they did last year and 41% plan to spend less, compared with last year. Fourteen percent plan to spend more this year because of the anticipated economic recovery.

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