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Walmart is top store for back-to-school shoppers

A new survey indicates where consumers will shop for back-to-school.

One retailer is the clear favorite for back-to-school purchases.

According to “Back-to-School Shopping By the Numbers: Trends for the 2022-23 School Year,” a new survey from online deals and savings platform RetailMeNot, three-quarters of respondents said they will shop for back-to-school merchandise at Walmart, far ahead of the almost six in 10 who indicated they will frequent Amazon.  Rounding out the top five were Target (47%), dollar stores (36%), and specialty clothing stores (35%).

Survey results also indicate a shift in back-to-store shopping from online to in-store.  Thirty-nine percent of respondents are online shopping during back-to-school season (down from 48% in 2021), while 61% are shopping in stores (up from 52% the prior year). RetailMeNot also found that more than half (56%) of respondents said they would buy online and pick up in-store while performing back-to-school shopping.

Electronics topped the list at $353 (but down 21% from last year) when consumers were asked how much they plan to spend in top back-to-school shopping categories, followed by clothing ($320, up 2% from 2021) and school supplies ($192, up 55%). Other categories included shoes ($170, down 4%), décor ($86 down 11%). backpacks ($69, down 28%) and protective items such as face masks and sanitizers ($57, down 27%).

“With inflation tightening budgets, consumers are shopping smarter and prioritizing different categories than we saw in 2021,” said Kristen McGrath, editor of The Real Deal by RetailMeNot. “This year, consumers are spending nearly $100 less on electronics than they did in 2021, and many categories saw a decline in spend compared to last year. Meanwhile, school supplies are getting a budget increase. Parents, it seems, are hoping to let their students’ tech ride another year and redirecting funds toward required supplies (which they know will be more expensive than ever).”

Other highlights from the survey are below.

Top stores for back-to-school shopping:

  • Walmart – 75%.
  • Amazon – 57%.
  • Target – 47%.
  • Dollar stores (e.g. Family Dollar, Dollar Tree) – 36%.
  • Clothing Stores (e.g. Old Navy, Gap, H&M) – 35%.
  • Kohl’s – 23%.
  • Department stores (e.g. Macy’s, JCPenney) – 22%.
  • Office Depot – 17%.
  • Warehouse clubs (e.g. Sam’s Club, Costco) – 17%.
  • Staples – 16%.
  • Best Buy – 13%.
  • Art supply stores (e.g. Michael’s Jo-Ann’s) – 12%.
  • Second hand store/marketplace (e.g. Goodwill, Facebook Marketplace) – 11%.
  • Drugstores (e.g. CVS, Walgreens) – 11%.
  • Local stores and boutiques – 10%.

[Read more: How will Prime Day spending compare to last year?]

The survey also revealed respondents’ top back-to-school shopping stressors and concerns:

  • How much money I will have to spend: 40% (vs. 28% in 2021). 
  • Dealing with crowds in store: 35% (vs. 28% in 2021). 
  • Make the most out of my budget: 35% (vs. 25% in 2021).
  • Getting everything in time: 32% (vs. 30% in 2021).
  • Not finding what I need in store: 31% (vs. 25% in 2021).
  • More than half (55%) of respondents say they’ll always research online before venturing into physical stores to make a purchase. And 45% will continue researching products online while in physical stores.

Survey data comes from a Ziff Media Group trends survey performed by Alchemer of 1,137 U.S. adults. See full results here.

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