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Research + Studies

Back-to-school shoppers favor stores, retail centers

August 5, 2019

Back-to-school spending is expected to be higher this year, and the vast majority of shoppers say they will patronize physical stores and retail centers, according to a new ICSC study.

Nearly nine of 10 (87 percent) back-to-school shoppers say they plan to make their purchases in physical stores — and the figure rises to 95 percent when those who buy online from retailers with stores are included, says the Industry Insights report. A little better than four-fifths of back-to-school shoppers (82 percent) will visit a shopping center to make their back-to-school purchases.

Click-and-collect shopping — whereby shoppers order online and then collect the merchandise from the store — will be more popular than ever this season, with about two-fifths (41 percent) of respondents saying they intend to shop this way. Last year 39 percent of back-to-school shoppers engaged in click-and-collect shopping, and the year before that, the figure was 30 percent.

Discount stores are the most-popular retail destination for back-to-school shoppers

Over three-quarters (77 percent) of shoppers say they anticipate spending more on back-to-school items this year than they did last year — laying out, on average, $961 per household this year. About 32 percent of this is going toward electronics, 24 percent to home furnishings and 17 percent to apparel and footwear.

Perhaps not surprisingly, discount stores are the most-popular retail destination for back-to-school shoppers, with 61 percent of shoppers headed there, while 34 percent are using apparel and/or footwear stores. Some 30 percent, meanwhile, will shop at dollar/variety retailers, and 29 percent will patronize office-supply stores.

The back-to-school season got off to an early start this year: Nearly a third (30 percent) of shoppers had already kicked off their shopping by the time this survey was conducted (July 11–14), and 14 percent said they had actually completed it.

By Edmund Mander

Director, Editor-In-Chief/SCT

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