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Study: Consumers are reigning in back-to-school budgets, visits


Families are keeping back-to-school shopping — and spending — simple.

Nearly two-thirds of families budgeted $250 or less for all their back-to-school needs, with only a quarter indicating they will spend between $251 and $500. With tight budgets, families are focusing on price and selection when it comes to buying goods for their youngsters.

This was according to “JLL’s Back-to-School Consumer Shopping Survey.” The report is based on more than 1,000 parents of school-aged children in the United States.

Clothes and accessories make up just over 56% of back-to-school budgets. Stationary and supplies will eat up over one-quarter of budgets, with electronics (8%), and books (6%) trailing significantly behind.

“Back-to-school shopping is unlike any retail season because it’s based around necessity purchases replacing outgrown clothes and stocking up on the essential supplies for the year ahead,” said Greg Maloney, CEO Retail, JLL.

“This year we’re seeing parents seeking simplicity and one-stop shopping,” he said. “More than half of parents we surveyed want to keep their trips to one or two stores which lead to discount stores ranking as the most popular destination.”

In fact, brick-and-mortar stores account for 83% of shopping vs. online shopping (17%). The further outside a metro area, the less likely a shopper is to purchase back-to-school items online, the study revealed.

Urban shoppers are the most likely to buy back-to-school items online with 18% heading to their computers versus a store, followed by 17% of suburban shoppers, and just 16% of rural ones. More than 50% of parents are only heading to one or two stores this year. And more than half (57%) of parents will start shopping for clothes and supplies more than two weeks before the school bell rings.

“The back-to-school season is critical for many retailers — it’s second only to the holidays in terms of the amount that parents spend on kids,” said James Cook, Americas Director of Retail Research, JLL. “This year the competition is fierce with the majority of parents indicating they are only going to a couple of stores, and we expect to see even more discounting price wars between retailers on things like supplies to help capture shoppers.”

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