NEW YORK: Back-to-school (BTS) shopping is driven by the efforts of marketers as a new study shows three quarters of consumers take their cue from the appearance of advertisements from major retailers.
Around one third (34%) have already begun but the survey of US adults by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) also indicated a wide spread of views on the best time to find a bargain.
Nearly half (46%) of consumers thought they would get the best deals in August, compared to 30% in July; 15% of respondents believed the best deals would be found Labor Day weekend or in September.
Physical stories are the focus of most of consumers' shopping activity: 83% of purchases will involve a bricks-and-mortar outlet, including 7% of purchases that will be made online and picked up in-store.
The study further reported that the importance of omnichannel continues to grow, with 79% of respondents intending to use a mobile device while shopping in-store for BTS items, mostly for comparing prices (44%) but also to use digital coupons (28%) and to check ratings and reviews (26%).
ICSC said that discount stores were the leading BTS shopping destination, with 77% of consumers turning to these, although they were also planning to shop at office supply stores (40%), online-only retailers (29%), department stores (38%) and wholesale clubs (22%).
Target is attempting to make the process quicker and easier with the creation of an online hub, School List Assist, which offers a curated assortment of the most common items required and which parents can purchase and pick up in store or have shipped to their homes.
"When it comes to back-to-school shopping, we heard from our guests that shopping for 'the list' is a top priority but also the biggest challenge," said Jason Goldberger, president Target.com.
In the ICSC study, however, convenience ranked a long way behind price when it came to choosing a retailer: the top three factors were price (76%), convenience (48%) and quality (41%).
Data sourced from Business Wire; additional content by Warc staff