Media, friends and kids influence back-to-school spending


KidsBack-to-school budgets will be the same or higher this year, if only because of rising prices, says a Deloitte survey. The study notes that television is the number one source guiding purchases.

“Consumers’ price sensitivity and bargain habits have been hard to break,” said Alison Paul, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP, and retail & distribution sector leader. “Retailers will likely have to give consumers a good reason to fill the baskets in their stores, such as promotions that incentivize volume purchases or return trips. Retailers may need to quickly analyze their customer data and traffic to identify, replenish and market the popular items that can keep the momentum up throughout the season.”

Deloitte notes in particular a growing trend in which kids themselves will be spending $51 or more – 68% of them, in fact. That is a huge 18% increase in significant school-ager spending over 2011.

What it means is that money spent on media used by that group will likely be well-spent.

41% of those planning to shop say television is a major source of information, making it the number one source. Other informants are family members (37%), newspapers (37%), and friends (36%).

Smartphones and other mobile devices will be an important part of the season, says Deloitte, as more and more consumers consult them while in the field shopping in search of sales and bargains.

Paul concluded, “As children contribute more to the back-to-school budget and shoppers act on input from friends and family, retailers need to consider the multiplier effect of each consumer interaction. That should signal retailers to focus on making a customer’s experience with product availability, assortment and service consistent across all digital and store channels. Their delivery also should be appropriate for each customer segment, regardless of location, from clear signage about mobile applications visible to the teenager in the store, to the associate that can help busy parents and advertisements that air during children’s TV programs.”