Back-to-School Shoppers Will Spend More, but Bargain-Hunt Harder

Bargain Mom shops for Back to School supplies
Bargain Mom shops for Back to School supplies


Parents are expected to spend more on hoodies, backpacks and notebooks for their kids this back-to-school season, but they'll also be laser-focused on bargains as they scour stores and e-commerce sites for the best deals.

Shoppers with children in grades K-12 will shell out an estimated $688.62 on back-to-school products, from clothing and school supplies to electronics, up from $603.63 last year, according to the National Retail Federation's 2012 Back-To-School spending survey, conducted by BIGInsight.

At the same time, 84.8% of consumers with school-age children said the still-weak economy is influencing their spending plans. More people plan to shop for sales more often over the coming months: 51.1% versus 50.1% last year, the survey revealed.

They'll also look to save money by doing more online comparison shopping to find the best prices: 32.1% versus 29.8% last year.

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And nearly four in 10 shoppers will surf the Internet specifically looking for free-shipping offers and other promotions.

Given all that, it should come as little surprise that most consumers surveyed (67.1%) will shop discount stores this back-to-school season.

%Gallery-153999%Even the kids will chip in more for their back-to-school purchases: Teens will spend $36.48 on pens, paper, lunch boxes and other items, up from $31.64 in 2011.

Shoppers will also spend significantly more on back-to-college merchandise, an average of $907.22 on everything from dorm furniture to school supplies and personal care items, up from $808.71 last year, according to consumers polled.

Interestingly, the growth of online shopping has led to a resurgence of both digital and paper catalogs, the survey revealed. An estimated 15.1% of shoppers plan to use catalogs to buy back-to-college items, up from 11.4% last year.

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