There’s more evidence from the US that consumers will carry on shopping but that bargains are their major focus. RetailMeNot has released a new study showing that back-to-school (BTS) spending should rise this year, but that even the affluent want deals and that price cuts tempt us all to spend more.
The study comes just a week after NPD revealed that US fashion shoppers generally are as bargain-oriented as ever.
While shoppers plan to spend an average of $273 per child, up from $246 in 2015, deal-seeking is top of mind. In fact, more than half (56%) look for back-to-school deals regularly.
“The fact that consumers are saying they will spend more money for back-to-school shopping speaks to increased consumer confidence,” said Marissa Tarleton, RetailMeNot’s CMO for North America. “What’s most interesting to me is that even high earners are deal-seekers. Everyone is looking for the most value, and when they find it, they tend to spend more.”
BTS is the second-largest shopping season of the year and 86% of parents plan on shopping for it this summer. The survey showed 42% planning to spend between $100 and $500 per student. Another 12% plan to spend more than $500 for each child.
Most parents still prefer to head in-store, with more than half (56%) expecting to buy supplies mostly or completely in a physical store. RetailMeNot said merchants wanting to capitalise on these shoppers should offer mobile deals in order to drive shoppers from browsing to buying. That conclusion comes after a February 2016 study from Placed and RetailMeNot showing 43% of consumers search for coupons on a mobile app, and 15% look for digital deals while in-store.
The survey also showed that 32% of consumers will shop equally online and in-store for BTS items. Surprisingly, less than 10% will shop mostly or completely online. That’s the complete opposite of pre-Christmas shopping where a disproportionately large amount of spending happens online.
With nearly a third (28%) of parents saying that back-to-school shopping is a strain on their family’s finances, many are looking for the best deal. Women are more likely than men to always seek a deal.
That’s even the case for high spenders and high earners. Of those consumers who earned $150,000 or more a year, one in three say that they search for deals every time they shop.