E-commerce takes a backseat, but cross-channel opportunities remain.
The down economy is putting a damper on back-to-school shopping this year, and while consumers may look for savings online, they plan to do most of their purchasing in-store.
Data from BIGresearch and the National Retail Federation (NRF) indicates that nearly one-half of US consumers with children ages 6 to 17 will be cutting spending on back-to-school items due to the recession.
With so much emphasis on savings, it is no surprise that nearly three-quarters of consumers plan to shop at discount stores.
Only 22.2% said they would purchase back-to-school items on the Web.
Last year, 24.8% of respondents to the same NRF survey indicated they would shop online.
Nearly 15% of respondents said their plans would not change because of the economy. The rest were looking to cut back by shopping for sales more often (56.2%), comparison shopping with both circulars (42.5%) and Websites (26.4%), buying generic products (41.7%) and using coupons more (40.0%).
In similar findings, Deloitte reported that 64% of consumers would reduce back-to-school spending this year. Online comparison shopping was popular with 28% of respondents.
In an OfficeMax study, mothers showed little interest in purchasing items on the Internet for back-to-school. More than 60% said they would do all of their school shopping in-store, with only a tiny 3% doing all or most of their shopping online.
Is back-to-school a lost cause for e-commerce? Not if you consider cross-channel shopping—which accounts for more total retail sales than Internet purchases, according to Forrester Research.
Nearly one in five US mom Internet users told OfficeMax they would look for deals by searching online. Another 13% planned to check the Websites of office supply companies, while smaller percentages would look at review sites, general shopping sites, mom-oriented social sites and blogs.
While many consumers may not click “add to cart” for kids’ clothes, shoes and supplies this summer, they will be checking the Web for opportunities to save.
To find out more about consumer shopping motivations and behavior, check out the new eMarketer report, Multichannel Retailing: A Competitive Differentiator.