Back-To-School Spending On The Uptick Says Shopping Center Report

For many retailers, back to school will mean back to business.

Today, the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) released its annual back-to-school consumer survey results, finding an overall uptick in spending. In-store purchases continue to dominate, with a 95 percent of back-to-school shoppers planning to spend at physical stores, while omnichannel trends like click and collect are also gaining traction. In total, the average back-to-school shopper is expected to spend $657 in purchases.

The survey went on to note that 78 percent of these shoppers expect to spend more this year, a significant increase compared with those who planned to do the same in 2015 (67 percent) and 2014 (50 percent). When asked why their spending would increase this year, 48 percent noted a need to replace wardrobe and school supplies; 44 percent cited that school requirements have changed and 35 percent noted that the items they plan to buy are more expensive than last year.

Of those surveyed, 93 percent noted they plan to spend at a mall or shopping center due to reasons that include the ability to physically see, touch or try on merchandise (42 percent,) as well as avoid shipping costs (34 percent).

However, there is still business to be done online since many also plan to spend there from retailers with brick-and-mortar locations. As a result, 97 percent of shoppers will spend in-store and/or online at retailers with a physical presence.

In addition, 62 percent plan to conduct research online before shopping, while 86 percent will use their mobile device while shopping in-store, primarily to compare prices (58 percent), retrieve discounts (45 percent) and view ratings (34 percent).

The survey was conducted online by Opinion Research Corp. on behalf of ICSC from July 7-10. The survey represents a demographically representative U.S. sample of 1,023 adults 18 years of age or older.

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