As the oldest in a family of five children, the end of July always heralded the beginning of the dreaded, chaotic Back to School (BTS) shopping. My mom would gather the lists our teachers provided us with at the end of the previous school year, pile us into the car and search the aisles of local stores boasting discounts.
At the end of the shopping spree, we would come home with bags containing an assortment of pens, notebooks, folders and binders that we would have to go through and separate for each sibling.
It’s that time of the year again, only (thankfully) I no longer have to accompany my mom on those trips, which could last hours. This year, more BTS shoppers have followed in my mom’s tradition of getting a jump start on the action. A survey commissioned by ICSC-Goldman Sachs found that 37% of consumers have already started shopping, compared to 29% who began at this time last year.
Ninety percent have indicated that they will purchase from brick-and-mortar retailers. According to the survey, “many retailers found in regional malls and open-air centers, such as office supply stores, traditional department stores, electronic stores and apparel specialty stores should see increased activity during the BTS season.”
Online shopping is expected to drop from 8.6% last year to 8.1% this year. Seventy-three percent of consumers said they will do research online and then buy their supplies from a physical store.
Average household spending on BTS items is expected to increase this year. Excluding electronics, expenditures are anticipated to be $325 per household, an increase from last year’s average of $285 per household.
This year’s Back to School shopping is still in its early phases. It will be interesting to see if the actual figures match up to the predicted ones.