NRF: Many Consumers Still Shopping For Back-To-School

The back-to-school/college shopping season may be in full swing, but a recent survey from the National Retail Federation found that many consumers have yet to buy all the necessities needed for their students heading back to class.

According to the survey, 49.1% of college students and their families have completed their shopping, compared with 53.7% at the same time a year ago. In addition, 24.7% said they have yet to start shopping, a figure that is slightly lower (26.2%) than 2014.

College shoppers are also turning to coupons, sales or promotions to get the best bang for their buck as the survey found nearly half (48.1%) of what parents have purchased has been influenced by early summer deals and promotions.

Much like back-to-school shoppers, most of those shopping for college will cross off bedding, apparel and other items from their lists at discount stores (46.3%), department stores (38.8%), clothing (28.8%) and electronics stores (20.3%).

Those with students in K-12, 50.4% of survey respondents, said they have completed their shopping, a figure that is in line with 2014.

“As expected, families are carefully measuring where, when and how they should spend on fall apparel items, school supplies, electronics and other necessities,” said Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO. “Late summer promotions and sales tax holidays around the country are likely contributing to the delay in back-to-school shopping this year, which means the next few weeks could be exceptionally busy for retailers large and small.”

Shay said that retailers, hoping to attract both budget-conscious and value-focused parents, are expected to roll out “hard to pass up promotions” designed to capture the attention of last-minute shoppers.