How Will Consumers Shop for Back-to-School? - eMarketer

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How Will Consumers Shop for Back-to-School?

Back-to-school retail spending is increasing this year

August 8, 2016 | Retail & Ecommerce

When it comes to making back-to-school consumer electronics and apparel purchases, internet users in North America are split between using a desktop or mobile device, according to June 2016 research.

Primary Device that Internet Users in North America Plan to Use for Digital Back-to-School/Back-to-College Consumer Electronics Purchases, June 2016 (% of respondents)

Market research and strategic consulting firm Trendsource surveyed 1,699 internet users in North America ages 18 and older. Slightly more than half (51%) of respondents said they plan to use their desktop device for back-to-school consumer electronics purchases. Nearly half said they would use a mobile device—24% of internet users said they plan to use their mobile phone and another quarter plan to use their tablet.

Similarly, for back-to-school apparel purchases, internet users in North America were once again split between using a desktop or mobile device. Though when it came to mobile, slightly more respondents (27%) said they would be using their mobile phone compared to those that planned to use that particular device for consumer electronics purchases.

US Back-to-School Retail Spending, 2010-2016 (billions)

Many parents have already begun their back-to-school shopping. Indeed, June 2016 data revealed that about a third had already begun when surveyed, while another 17% planned to do it two months before school starts&mdasah;meaning early July at the latest.

Separate research from the National Retail Federation (NRF) looked at back-to-school retail spending between 2010 and 2016. Spending peaked in 2012 and decreased year over year until 2015. This year, retail spending is expected to reach $27.3 billion, an increase from last year’s $24.9 billion and the highest spending level since the 2012 peak.

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