Gadgets and Clothes Top Back-to-School Shopping Lists
Mom and Dad are going to be plunking down more dollars this year as they send their kids off to the school.
That’s the findings of the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) 2006 Back-to-School Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, which projects the average family will spend $527.08 on clothes, electronics and other merchandise this year. That number is up substantially from the $443.77 spent last year.
One area of significant growth will be in the sale of computers and other electronics. Last year, according to the NRF, sales of these items for the back-to-school season fell dramatically. This year, according to the association’s projections, sales of electronics will reach $3.82 billion, up from $2.06 billion in 2005.
Tracy Mullins, NRF President and CEO, said the back-to-school season is important for retailers beyond the sales brought in during the time period.
“The back-to-school shopping season serves as an important bellwether for the holiday season by helping retailers pinpoint emerging trends and popular products,” she said. “Retailers will be tracking the performance of apparel and electronics very closely to ensure that their stores have the right merchandise mix for the fourth quarter.”
Consumers in the back-to-school market in most regions across the country are expected to increase purchases this year. The one notable exception is in the Northeast U.S. where the NRF projects consumers will come down from the $513.07 they spent in 2005 to $456.38 this year.
As might be expected, discounters are expected to attract the largest numbers of consumers looking to buy for back-to-school. Roughly 72 percent of consumers say they will be shopping in discount stores for back-to-school merchandise.
Department stores are likely to see substantial improvements in their back-to-school numbers as the number of consumers who say they will shop in these stores moved up from 39.7 percent last year to 53.3 percent this year.
Electronics outlets and specialty clothing stores can also expect to see increased traffic with 30.9 percent of consumers indicating they will shop these outlets. Last year,
18.8 percent of back-to-school shoppers went the specialty store route.
Discussion Questions: What do you find most interesting about the findings of the National Retail Federation’s back-to-school study? What will back-to-school
sales tell retailers about the upcoming Christmas shopping season?