Back-to-school: US shoppers give top marks to deals and discounts

back to schoolThere’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.

Back-to-schoolMost 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.

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