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07/30/2021

Survey: Walmart is top destination for back-to-school shoppers

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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A new survey from RetailMeNot reveals almost seven in 10 consumers will make a back-to-school purchase at Walmart.

According to the survey of over 1,100 adult U.S. consumers conducted by Ziff Media Group for RetailMeNot, a leading 69% of respondents said they planned to shop for back-to-school at Walmart. Other top retailers (respondents could select more than one) included Amazon (61%), Target (50%), clothing stores (29%), dollar stores (27%), department stores (21%), Staples (21%), Kohl’s (20%), warehouse club stores (18%), and Best Buy (17%).

[Read more: Survey: Retailers prioritize back-to-school over holiday]

The 2021-22 school year is also motivating higher spending, according to the survey. Six in 10 (61%) respondents said they will spend more on school supplies and back-to-school purchases in 2021 than in 2020 – for an average of $1,333 in total. 

The product category with the highest planned spending total is electronics, such as tablets and laptops ($447); followed by clothes ($314); shoes ($177); school supplies, such as folders, notebooks and pencils ($124); décor, such as mirrors, magnets and posters ($97); backpacks ($96); and protective items such as face masks and hand sanitizer ($78).

When asked when they planned to begin shopping for back-to-school items, a leading 36% of respondents said July, followed by August (26%), June (15%), and May (11%). Eight percent of respondents say they shop for back-to-school all year round, and the remaining 5% will wait till September.

Other interesting findings include:
•    More than half of respondents (52%) say they’ll be doing their back-to-school shopping in-store this year. The other 48% say they’ll stick to online shopping. 

•    The biggest stressors this year are getting everything on time and shopping safely amid COVID-19 health concerns (both tied at 30% of respondents); spending too much (28%); dealing with crowds (28%); and finding good deals (26%).

•    The most popular priorities respondents placed in their top three for the 2021 back-to-school shopping season were making sure kids are happy with their purchases (55%), purchasing items that will improve their children’s performance in school (41%), budget efficiency (39%), and finding discounts (36%).