Retailers, consumers and prices
Consumers learning frugal back-to-school lesson
NPD Group Inc, a market research firm, said on Tuesday that it found consumers are starting their back-to-school shopping later, spending less, and shifting away from discretionary items like shoes, clothes, and beauty items. Instead, they are focusing on necessities like school supplies and calculators.
“Back-to-school will be a big indicator of the consumer’s psyche with regard to overall spending this year compared to last year,” said Marshal Cohen, NPD’s chief industry analyst. “Consumers are clearly putting need over desire. They are more highly influenced by value than by fashionable or trendy products.”
According to NPD’s survey, the number of people who said they either ‘haven’t started’ or ‘don’t plan to shop for back to school’ by the end of July dropped 5 percent from last year .
About 44 percent of respondents said they planned to spend less for back to school, compared to 35 percent last year. The study also found that the percent of back-to-school dollars people plan to spend on footwear and apparel fell 9 points to 39 percent and 8 points to 52 percent, respectively.
Meanwhile BrandKeys, a marketing consulting firm, surveyed 10,000 households across the United States in July and found that the plans for back-to-school spending were down 10 percent this year. Spending fell across all categories, except for clothing.
“Clothing is unchanged because children grow,” said Robert Passikoff, president of BrandKeys. Even though spending fell in categories like computers, school supplies and study aids, Passikoff said kids will be going back to school pretty well kitted out in the classroom.
“Even in this economy, it’s still true that any investment in knowledge always pays the best interest,” he said.