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Retailers, consumers and prices

Consumers learning frugal back-to-school lesson

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JAPAN/Could Americans really be getting the hang of life without excess? According to two recent consumer studies, they just might be.

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 .

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