In-Store Beats Online for Back-to-School Shopping
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In-Store Beats Online for Back-to-School Shopping

July 31, 2014

While many parents might do their back-to-school research online, an overwhelming majority of them will continue to do their back-to-school shopping at brick-and-mortar locations.

A report from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) found that 90 percent of consumers will go to a physical store to purchase items for the new school year. About 24 percent of that shopping will be done at discount stores, with the rest being done at regional malls, traditional department stores, office supply and electronic stores, and apparel specialty stores. More than 70 percent of consumers will do online research before heading in store.

According to the report, families are expected to spend around $670 on back-to-school expenditures, with about half of that being allocated for electronics.

The ICSC report also indicates an increase in discretionary spending, as 20 percent of consumers said a change in fashion trends is one reason why their back-to-school spending is changing.

Cost-conscious spending still reins, however, as 61 percent of consumers said sales were a reason why they shopped at a specific location.

August will be the biggest month for back-to-school shopping, with 59 percent of consumers doing the bulk of their shopping during that time.

Back-to-School Shopping Tips

Shopping the end of summer sales for things you know your kids will wear during the winter will save you big bucks at the cash register. Many stores, like Old Navy, will put their clothing on sale fairly soon after it's put on the racks. If something is full price, find out when it will be on sale.

Stick to the teacher supply list to avoid unnecessary items. You can purchase many of these items for less at your grocery store. You'll save gas by going when you're already doing your regular shopping.

While you're at it, use the grocery circular to plan out your kids' meals for the week. Plan according to what's on sale.

Getting together with some other parent-friends to do a school supply swap is also a great idea! Trade some unused pencils for some new pens or get a new look for your child by swapping clothing.