LOS ANGELES — Nearly half of consumers polled in the latest PriceGrabber survey said that retailers are serving up better back-to-school promotions this year, compared with 2011.
Polling responses from 2,745 U.S. online shopping consumers — with 1,000 of the respondents planning to shop this back-to-school season — PriceGrabber said that while 48% agreed that this year's promotions are better than last year's, 88% of consumers chose "sales" as the top retailer promotion that will entice them to make a back-to-school purchase this year; 39% of shoppers cited coupons; 44% noted that "free items with purchase" would persuade them to buy; and 34% selected sales available online only. The best deals are being offered on school supplies (67%), clothing (58%), electronics (i.e., computers, tablets and smartphones) ranked third at 32%, tote bags (30%) and books (15%).
Where are consumers scoring the best deals? PriceGrabber found at one-third (34%) said the best back-to-school deals are online, 22% cited brick-and-mortar stores and 44% said they found the deals to be the same. When asked how they plan to purchase back-to-school items this year, 60% of consumers said in stores and 40% selected online.
"The start of the back-to-school shopping season has been very competitive with retailers offering aggressive promotions to win the consumer dollar," PriceGrabber general manager Graham Jones said. "We anticipate retailers will continue to offer very strong promotions and incentives through the remainder of August and even into September as kids start the school year."
Additional findings included:
67% selected large, multichannel department stores as the type of stores they plan to shop at for back-to-school items, followed by online retailers;
54% of respondents said they plan to shop at discount retail outlet stores; and
One-quarter of survey respondents said they have been lured into brick-and-mortar stores due to back-to-school sales and promotions for items under $1. Of those respondents, 48% said that once they got into the store they also purchased additional back-to-school items that were not on sale.
"Shoppers continue to look for the best deals and ways to get the most value from every dollar they spend on back-to-school items," Jones said. "Retailers with aggressive online and in store promotions in August will be better positioned to capture sales during this shopping season."