New York - A majority of parents plan to spend more on their children's back-to-school shopping this year, driven by rising costs or necessity rather than greater spending power. According the Accenture Back-to-School Shopping Survey, which polled 500 U.S. parents of children entering kindergarten through college, nearly all (89%) plan to do most of their back-to-school shopping in a physical store, though many will still use online to browse and search, or "webrooming."
According to the survey, two-thirds of parents (67%) plan to spend between $100 and $500 and 41% plan to spend $500 or more for back-to-school shopping this year. Compared to last year, just more than half (52%) of the parents said they will spend more on back-to-school shopping than last year, 37% plan to spend the same and only 11% expect to spend less. One-third (33%) of parents spending more plan to increase their spending by $250 or more. Among the reasons given for the spending increase, 71% cited higher prices and 56% cited increased school requirements. Nearly one-in-five parents (19%) said they will spend more in order to help their children "keep up with their friends."
The survey results demonstrate the growing importance of the seamless shopping experience. For example, nearly eight-out-of-10 (79%) plan to participate in "webrooming" – browsing online and then going to a store to make their purchase. The top reasons respondents cited for webrooming were: to check if an item is in stock before going to a store to make a purchase (47%); to touch and feel the product before buying (43%); to avoid shipping costs (43%); and to ask the store to match a better price found online (33%).
Other notable findings include:
• The parents of college children expect their spending increases to be higher than the parents of younger children: 28% of parents of college students believe they will spend $500 or more than last year compared to only 6% of parents of K-5 students.
• Among parents expecting to spend less this year, 58% plan to decrease spending by $100 or less than last year. More than half (55%) of these parents