Consumers to cautiously open wallets during BTS season

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT — Good news for retailers and manufacturers of back-to-school supplies! A recent PriceGrabber survey found that nearly half of U.S. shoppers plan to spend more dough this BTS season. But wait, there is a catch: The study also found that they don't plan to spend it all at once.

(THE NEWS: More consumers plan to boost spending during BTS season. For the full story, click here)

Specifically, 55% of consumers plan to spread out their back-to-school purchases this year.

In line with the quick trip mentality that has consumers trading big shopping trips for more smaller trips, where they don't have to plunk down a whole lot of money at once, drug stores should be able to pick off more of these trips this year if they communicate strong values in BTS during the prime selling weeks — and every year it seems to start a little earlier.

As reported by Drug Store News, SymphonyIRI Group released a report in the second half of 2011, which indicated that cross-channel shopping is alive and well. The report found that, across CPG channels, purchase frequency increased 2% during the past year, with grocery, dollar and club channel trends closely mirroring industry average. Across other channels, though, trends significantly vary. For example, frequency within the drug channel accelerated sharply within the last year, increasing by 6.7%. This growth is being driven by a number of factors, including shifting trip mission trends. Quick trips, small "need-it-now" excursions with an average basket size of less than $40, have become more common as consumers look to minimize large one-time outlays of cash, SymphonyIRI SVP marketing John McIndoe reported.

WHAT DO YOU THINK? As a retailer or a supplier, where do you think the greatest opportunities exist for this BTS season and how do you plan to fully leverage BTS? Post your comments below.

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