ICSC: Back-To-School Spending Expected To Rise

More than three-in-four back-to-school shoppers said they plan to increase their spending year-over-year, with most saying they plan to visit brick-and-mortar stores for the products they need, according to a survey from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).

The survey of 1,023 adults from across the United States found that 78% of shoppers expect to pay more this year, a figure that is higher than 2015 (67%) and 2014 (50%). In total, the average back-to-school shopper is expected to spend $657 in purchases.

When asked why their spending would increase this year, 48% noted a need to replace wardrobe and school supplies, 44% cited that school requirements have changed and 35% stated that the items they plan to buy are more expensive than last year.

“Back-to-school shopping is considered the second biggest spending season of the year and according to ICSC’s survey, this season is shaping up to be the strongest of recent years,” said Tom McGee, president and CEO of ICSC. “As we’ve seen in our other surveys, the majority of consumers intend to shop primarily in stores. At the same time, there is a continued interest in leveraging omnichannel strategies such as click and collect as consumers integrate technology into their shopping experience.”

In addition, in-store purchases continue to dominate, with 95% of back-to-school shoppers planning to spend at physical stores, while omnichannel trends like click and collect are also gaining traction. When asked why they prefer to spend in physical stores and shopping centers, the top reasons included:

  • Ability to physically see, touch or try on merchandise (42%)
  • Avoid shipping costs (34%)
  • Convenience of one-stop shopping (33%)

Click and collect is also resonating with consumers, the ICSC said. Thirty-three percent of shoppers will make a purchase online to be picked up in a physical location and 84% of those shoppers will make an additional purchase when picking up their online order. Sixty-two percent of those surveyed plan to conduct research online before shopping. Eighty-six percent will use their mobile device while shopping in-store, primarily to compare prices (58%), retrieve discounts (45%) and view ratings (34%).