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School supplies
Consumer Trends

Parents Plan to Get Savvy with Back-to-School/Back-to-College Spending

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As the dog days of summer start to kick in, parents are already planning for the back-to-school and back-to-college season while their kids continue to enjoy summer break.

Last year, our back-to-school survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics found that more people in both school and college surveys were waiting to shop until later in the season. This trend is continuing on to this year, with many parents strategically delaying back-to-school shopping trips until they find the right deal.

We recently polled more than 6,800 adults with children in K-12 and college and found 54 percent of households with school-age kids (6-17) are planning to spend the same as last year for back to school, slightly down compared to 57 percent who said the same thing last year. When looking into parents with children heading to college, 37 percent said they are planning to spend the same as last year, up slightly from 35 percent of those who responded to the same question last year. 

NRF Back-to-School Spending Survey (Preview), conducted by Prosper Insights.
NRF Back-to-College Spending Survey (Preview), conducted by Prosper Insights.

Even though many parents are planning to spend about the same as last year, they are getting savvy about how they will complete their back-to-school list shopping. According to the survey, 28 percent of parents with school-age kids (6-17) are planning to use more coupons than last year for back to school. In addition, 25 percent of parents will be putting their heads down and studying ad circulars and newspapers for the best back-to-school deals. Parents with college students are pulling all the tricks from their magic hat: 28 percent will buy more store brand/generic products, 30 percent will shop for sales more often and 21 percent will use more coupons.

While this survey is a small snapshot of what’s to come, we know retailers are getting their stores and websites ready for the increase in traffic and sales as back-to-school shopping season starts ramping up.

Looking for more back-to-school/back-to-college data? Our official 2016 consumer spending survey will be released in mid-July. Until then, you’ll find historical spending data and 2015 resources in our Back-to-School Headquarters.


Back-to-School HQ
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Historical data and top trends: Find all of NRF's back-to-school and back-to-college resources in one place.

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