Nearly 70 Percent of Shoppers Plan to Spend More This Year on Back-to-School

(The Baltimore Sun/TNS) —

If you’ve started buying back-to-school clothes and supplies for the kids, you’re in the company of more than a third of consumers, a shopping-center trade group said Tuesday.

It’s mid-July, but 34 percent of shoppers have begun to buy, and most – 83 percent – are shopping in stores or ordering online and picking up in stores, according to a survey by the International Council of Shopping Centers. The store-pickup option is good for retailers, because most shoppers leave with more than the item they came for.

Nearly 70 percent of back-to-school shoppers expect to spend more this year, up from the half of shoppers with such plans last year, the survey showed.

Shopping channels continue to blend, with nearly 80 percent of back-to-school shoppers planning to use a mobile device in stores, either to compare prices, use digital coupons, check reviews, check item availability or text friends and family for their opinions on what to buy.

“Retailers are enjoying a strong start to the BTS shopping season after a sluggish first quarter of 2015,” said Jesse Tron, ICSC spokesman. “While typically viewed as an essential expenditure, BTS shopping also highlights many of the trends occurring in the shopping-center industry.”

ICSC said discount stores continue as the leading back-to-school destination, while a quarter of shoppers will go to apparel stores.

Consumers said they plan to spend more to replace wardrobes or school supplies, satisfy new school requirements or keep up with changing fashion trends. They’ll be shopping for school supplies, apparel, shoes, electronics, backpacks and eyeglasses.

It’s prime time not only to start back-to-school shopping but for back-to-school shopping surveys. The National Retail Federation plans to release its expectations for the season on Wednesday.

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