The summer vacation season is shorter for most Southwest Washington families, given the extended snow make up days from the 2016-17 school year, so it seems early to get a jumpstart on Back to School (B2S) shopping, but it’s really a good time to find the best deals.
Deloitte recently conducted its 10th annual Back to School (B2S) survey, which takes a detailed look at this year’s shopping and spending trends. Total B2S shopping in the United States is expected to reach $27 billion, and department stores fall from second to sixth place as favorite shopping destinations. Mass merchants have jumped to first place.
That $27 billion projection would make 2017 the second biggest B2S shopping season on record.
B2S is the second biggest shopping season of the year, affecting 29 million U.S. households, 53 million children, and accounts for 50 percent of all school-related expenditures, according to Deloitte.
In this B2S shopping season, Deloitte says “consumers are focused on different retailers and items to fill their carts. Mass merchants and off-price retailers are becoming the go-to venues while traditional department stores and specialty clothing retailers take a back seat.”
Here are some of the survey’s findings:
- 81 percent of respondents plan to shop at mass merchants. This is a 24 percentage point jump over of last year.
- 28 percent plan to shop at off-price stores. This is up from 10 percent in 2016.
- 28 percent say they’ll shop traditional department stores, which is down from 54 percent last year.
- Just eight percent of parents plan to visit specialty clothing stores, falling from 25 percent in 2016.
Welcome back to school written on a sheet of paper school with colorful pens
Local retailers have seen an earlier spike in traffic this year, and many attribute that to the heat.
“We think they’re coming in to escape the heat,” said one Target employee.
Retailers also get the most dollars spent at their stores the earlier they advertise their sales, according to the survey.
“I love to save money,” said Marcia Wahlman, a Wal-Mart shopper. “I love finding the best deals.”
The statistics show that families spend, on average, $501 per child, which is on par with 2016. Fifty-seven percent of respondents will use cash or debit cards for their purchases, while others will use credit or retail credit cards.
In-store purchases account for 57% of total B2S sales, with 21% online, and 22% undecided.
The Southern portion of the U.S. accounts for 44%, giving that region the highest average spend. The West accounts for 18% overall. The Midwest is 20%, and the Northeast is at 18%.
So, how much will your family spend?
Kids ready for the start of the new school season.