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More Parents To Complete Back-To-School Shopping After School Starts

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BacktoSchool.3As many as 31% of parents shopping for children in grades K-12 plan to complete their back-to-school spending after the start of the school year, increasing from 26% in 2014, according to research from the Deloitte 2015 Back-To-School Study. Additionally, 38% of respondents say shopping for this season is less important because they replenish school supplies throughout the year.

Shoppers in 2015 simply don’t have the need to buy the items they purchased last year, according to the survey. The number of consumers who plan to reuse last year’s items has risen from 26% to 39% between 2011 and 2015.

“Consumers are sending a message to retailers that says the back-to-school shopping season just isn’t that important anymore — and that could dramatically disrupt an industry that traditionally relies on this defined period for a significant portion of annual sales,” said Alison Paul, Vice Chairman and Retail and Distribution Sector Leader at Deloitte LLP. “The question for retailers is how to capture the sales that may not fall exclusively in July or August, but increasingly spread throughout the year. If consumers are content with the items they already have, the two-for-one promotion may no longer get them to the register. Instead, retailers will have to provide something more meaningful or exclusive that fits their customers’ needs when they are ready to buy.”

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Up to 80% of smartphone owners who took the survey said they plan to use their devices for back-to-school shopping, a 6% increase over last year. Reinforcing the significance of that increase, smartphone device ownership has more than doubled from 40% in 2011 to nearly 90% of the adult purchasing population in 2015. 

Smartphone shoppers plan to use their smartphones over other devices, such as laptops, PCs and tablets. They also are using their phones more to research products. While 44% of consumers will access a retailer’s web site and 42% will access product information using their smartphones, just 29% plan to use the devices to complete a purchase. 

When it comes to research, 55% of parents shopping for children in grades K-12 say they will research online first before completing a purchase in a store. The store is still tops among this demographic when it comes to finalizing purchases, with 86% visiting a discount or value department store and 44% buying online.

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