Retailers, expecting thrifty behavior from consumers, are starting the back-to-school season with early promotions. “Retailers are already running door-buster promotions,” said Perry Smith, an analyst with the NPD Group. “The consumer has been holding out for last-minute shopping hoping for the best deals. In some cases, people are shopping after school starts.”
PriceGrabber’s “Back-to-School Shopping Forecast” revealed that 49% of back-to-school shoppers plan to make purchases in August, compared with 38% in 2010. Only 14% said they would begin shopping in June, versus 26% in 2010, and 41% would visit retailer websites to print out coupons.
In an effort to discourage consumers from cherry-picking items on price, some retailers have created loyalty shopping programs. Staples issued a 15%-off pass for the entire season, and Kmart in July launched its “Epic Year, Epic You!” campaign offering customers the ability to reserve purchases by making payments throughout the summer and pick up purchased items at a Kmart store near students’ college campuses. Grocer H-E-B signed celebrity Jennette McCurdy, co-star of Nickelodeon’s “iCarly,” to promote its back-to-school campaign.
Smith said consumers have been sticking to their school lists and that sharp-priced basics are the category stars. Smith also highlighted 3M’s tape dispensers in stiletto heel or apple shapes, and folders and notebooks that can be colored in with markers.
The article above is part of the DSN Category Review Series. For the complete Back To School Buy-In Report, including extensive charts, data and more analysis, click here.