Retailers May Find it More Difficult to Win Shoppers for Back-to-School Shopping This Season

According to new results published by The Integer Group, 31 percent of survey respondents said they won’t be shopping for any back-to-school products at all, up from 27.7 percent last year. This was revealed in the latest issue of The Checkout, an ongoing shopper behavior study conducted by Integer  and M/A/R/C Research.

With fewer people shopping, certain channels will see a drop in traffic. Integer predicts that mass, clothing, and drug will take the largest hit, losing 2.3 percent, 3.2 percent, and 5.5 percent of shoppers this year compared to last.

“The shoppers who are heading out this year plan to visit fewer channels, meaning retailers will have a harder time maintaining the same level of foot traffic as last year. Retailers will have to strive harder to get shoppers through the door by investing more in order to entice people with promotions, deals, proper communication, and incentives outside of the store,” said Craig Elston, senior vice president, Insight & Strategy at The Integer Group.

The study also shows that:

  • Only 38 percent of people said they would shop a month or more before school starts, compared to 45 percent last year.
  • 62 percent said they would wait until at least 2-3 weeks before school starts to begin back-to-school shopping, despite planning many weeks in advance.
  • Shoppers have heightened their perceptions of private label products. This year, 38 percent of back-to-school shoppers are buying more private label products compared to 31 percent last year.
  • Only 1 out of 3 shoppers believe brand names are of higher quality although 57 percent of respondents agree that brand names offer more attractive packaging.
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