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National Retail Federation: Lots of last-minute back-to-school shoppers

WASHINGTON — The National Retail Federation’s 2012 Back-to-School spending survey indicates school and college shoppers this year are expected to spend a total of $83.8 billion — about $700 per child.

Survey results indicate as of August 7th, families say they have over half their shopping lists to complete. The average person with children in grades K-12 has completed 40.1 percent of their shopping, while college shoppers and their families have completed slightly more at 45.3 percent.

The survey found that more college students and their families have already finished their shopping (16.4%), than school shoppers (7.8%).

When it comes to how families will pay for their school and college merchandise, the survey found debit/check cards are the preferred payment method for shoppers this summer. College shoppers are more likely to use their credit cards (29.4%) over cash (26.7%). 

With eight in 10 Americans saying the economy will impact their school and college spending plans, it’s no surprise promotions and coupons are popular with families this summer. According to the survey, of those who have already begun shopping, two in five (38.5%) with children in grades K-12 say at least half of the school-related purchases they made were influenced by coupons, sales and promotions, down slightly from 41.5 percent last year.

Nearly seven in 10 tablet owners will utilize their tablets to shop for school and college items, and more than half of those who own smartphones will shop in some way via their mobile device for both school and college merchandise.

Of those who own tablets, most (43.8%) will use their tablet to research products and compare prices, Four in 10 (40.6%) college students and their families will use their tablet to research products and compare prices. 

When it comes to smartphone usage, most back-to-school (33.3%) and college (31.5%) shoppers will use their smartphones to research products and compare prices, while fewer school (19.2%) and college (20.9%) shoppers will commit to buying something on their handheld device.  

NRF’s 2012 Back-to-School and College Surveys were designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to back to school spending and back to college spending. The surveys were conducted for NRF by BIGinsight. The poll of 8,509 consumers was conducted from August 1-7, 2012. The smartphone/tablet data was collected July 2-9, 2012 among 8509 consumers. The consumer polls have a margin of error of plus or minus 1.0 percentage point.

Download Back-to-School and College complete survey results

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