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Survey: What social platform influences back-to-school shoppers?


The current school year is just ending, but consumers are already looking ahead to the fall.

According to a new survey of 300 U.S. adults who plan on leading their families’ back-to-school shopping efforts from social engagement firm Crowdtap, blogs and social media conversations rival traditional advertising formats (e.g. magazine circulars and TV ads) when it comes to what drives back-to-school purchases.

When asked what influences back-to-school shopping decisions most, 37% of shoppers cited blogs and social media; 36% cited traditional media; and 27% cited online ratings and reviews.

The study also revealed that 27% of respondents said they would use Pinterest for back-to-school shopping planning. Pinterest is also an important destination for lunchtime and/or snack inspiration in particular. Twenty-five percent of shoppers said they will use Pinterest to unearth creative recipe ideas for back-to-school lunches and snacks.

Despite strong reliance on blogs and social media for ideas, shoppers polled said they favor shopping in physical stores over both retailer websites and destinations like for clothing (64%) and school supplies (70%).

In other survey findings, when it comes to clothing purchases, shoppers value sales and promotions above factors such as value (quality for the cost) brand loyalty, convenience and sustainability. For school supplies and snacks, value is the most important determinant, above sales & promotions.

“Back-to-school shopping is one of the most time-honored traditions for American families – and the process is increasingly starting in the places where U.S. consumers are spending their media time: with social media content that’s created by expert creators and their peers,” said Claudia Page, VP of platform and creator partnerships at Crowdtap. “While families still favor the in-store shopping experience for back-to-school, digital is playing a material role in the discovery process.”

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