Survey: Parents prefer stores for back-to-school shopping

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Survey: Parents prefer stores for back-to-school shopping

By Marianne Wilson - 07/25/2018
When it comes to shopping for back-to-school goods, parents overwhelmingly opt for brick-and-mortar, lured by discounts and no shipping costs.

That’s according to Citi Retail Services annual back-to-school shopping survey in which 77% of parents said they are shopping at brick-and-mortar stores to save money on back-to-school shopping through extra discounts such as coupons or rewards programs.

In addition, nearly two out of three parents surveyed would rather drive an hour to pick-up a last-minute back-to-school purchase in-person rather than pay $25 to have it shipped overnight.

The study also showed that new channels are increasing in popularity among young parents. 19% of parents between the ages of 18-29 are adopting voice assistants, such as Amazon Alexa, to do back-to-school shopping while doing other tasks.

The study also revealed a shopping paradox — while 81% of parents indicate they value savings over time, 70% of parents believe they are more efficient shoppers with their children, yet are actually spending more money than when shopping alone. In fact, the average spend per child for back-to-school supplies, including clothing, books, classroom supplies, electronics and more is $322. When parents shop with their children, they end up spending $97 more on average.

The survey also uncovered data concerning savings-minded parents who shop throughout the summer (40%) versus one-stop-shop parents (60%). The parents who hunt for bargains throughout the summer — visiting a maximum of four stores on average to find the best price on one item — actually spend an estimated $58 more than those who get their shopping done all at once.

Other key survey findings include:

All for one: As a means to save time and money, consumers are buying back-to-school items in bulk. About one-third (32%) of respondents said that they are purchasing items in this manner. As a result, retailers may consider packaging popular back-to-school items in easy-to-purchase kits.

Savings matter, but parents still value their time: While most parents will prioritize savings over time, even the most bargain-conscious shoppers won’t spend all day walking the aisles. The top time-saving measures parents have taken while back-to-school shopping are:

• Doing all shopping at one store or website (53%)
• Ordering items online and picking them up in-store (44%)
• Shopping for items online while at work (28%)

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