Deloitte: In-Store Shopping Key for BTS, But $5.5B Still Up For Grabs

In Reports, What's New, Industry News by Lauren Parker, Accessories Magazine

The back-to-school season is expected to boost retailer imports to new heights. Photo: Shutterstock.

Deloitte’s 11th annual survey takes a closer look at shopping trends for the upcoming back-to-school season. Spending is expected to reach $27.6 billion this year, with households planning to spend more than double in-store compared to online.

Of the nearly $28 billion expected to be spent this back-to-school shopping season, shoppers are still undecided on where they will spend 20% ($5.5B) of their budget, according to Deloitte’s “2018 Back-to-School Survey.”

Parents surveyed say they’ll spend an average of $510 between July and September, with most of that occurring in stores ($292) – more than double the amount they plan to spend online ($115), which accounts for nearly one-quarter (23%) of their spending.

Respondents remain undecided where they’ll put the remaining 20 percent of their budget – leaving $5.5 billion up for grabs between online and store retailers. Additionally, the amount parents say their children influence accounts for $21 billion, or 75 percent of back-to-school dollars.

“The amount people plan to spend and tendency to shop in physical stores for back-to-school are consistent with last year, but retailers need to act fast for that $5.5 billion wild card,” said Rod Sides, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP, and U.S. Retail, Wholesale and Distribution leader. “In just one year, previously undecided dollars have shifted dramatically by product category. For example, in 2017, 30 percent of people said they hadn’t decided if they would purchase computers online or in-store and that number shrunk to 20 percent this year, most of it going online. In electronics, undecided spending dropped 10 percentage points, moving primarily into the stores.”

  • In-store reigns supreme: Parents with students in grade K-12 expect to spend $510 per household, with the average in-store spend at $292, nearly double the online spend of$115.
  • Kids will have a say: Kids are likely to influence over $21B in back-to-school spending, representing 75% of total spend.
  • Digital influence hits a plateau: Technology adoption may have hit its saturation point, as the portion of shoppers using desktop/laptop computers for Back-to-School shopping fell 10 percentage points in two years (from 59% in 2016 to 49% this season). Mobile isn’t picking up the slack, as smartphone usage saw only a meager increase over the same period from 51% to 53%.
  • Mass merchants remain top of class: For the third year, mass merchants retain their place as the most popular type of retailer, drawing 83% of respondents. Other price-based retailers like dollar (38%), online-only (36%) and off-price stores (32%) follow, continuing to squeeze more traditional retailers out of the higher ranks.
  • Late July/early August shopping hits the sweet spot: Nearly all shoppers (90%) are expected to shop during late July/early August, a time which accounts for two-thirds of all back-to-school spend,
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