Back-to-School Shoppers Spending More This Year

August 2, 2016, Written By Bill Hardekopf

As back-to-school shopping begins, parents (59%) and college students (40%) report feeling extremely confident or very confident in their own financial situation, which will likely translate into higher retail sales. According to a report by Synchrony Financial, sales are expected to increase 3.2% to 3.7% during the third quarter of the year.

Synchrony’s report, based on a survey of 1,850 parents and college students, analyzed where consumers would spend their money. A third of families expect to spend more on clothing/shoes and electronics this year, and many report longer supply lists and more technology needs. In fact, 39% of K-12 parents said their supply lists have increased, and more than half of the respondents would rather pay a fee if the school would provide the supplies.

Other key findings include:

  • More than half of parents with K-12 students said they are likely to set a budget, and 39% of those parents said they are likely to set a per-child budget.
  • Most parents (51%) and college students (67%) plan to wait until August 1 to shop.
  • 65% of parents and 61% of college students will make most of their purchases in the store. 40% of college students will buy their items locally, and then transport them to school.
  • While people are shopping in store, they are finding deals online. 62% of parents (up from 56% last year) and 70% of college students (up from 68%) search online before shopping.
  • 40% of parents and half of college students will comparison shop with their phone.
  • Parents will make 35% of their purchases online, and 8% will use their phone, while 39% of college students will buy online, and 10% will use their phone.

“Price and value continue to influence where shoppers buy for back-to-school,” said Bart Schaller, EVP and chief marketing officer, Synchrony Financial. “We consistently find shoppers are deal-driven and value the additional savings, rewards and benefits credit cards can offer.”

The information contained within this article was accurate as of August 2, 2016. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.