Integer Group: Fewer BTS shoppers this season

More people saying they will not shop for back-to-school this year than last year

DENVER — According to new results published by the Integer Group, 31% of survey respondents said they won't be shopping for any back-to-school products at all, up from 27.7% last year. This was revealed in the latest issue of The Checkout, an ongoing shopper behavior study conducted by Integer and M/A/R/C Research.

With fewer people shopping, certain channels will see a drop in traffic. Integer predicts that mass, clothing, and drug will take the largest hit, losing 2.3%, 3.2%, and 5.5% respectively of shoppers this year compared to last.

"The shoppers who are heading out this year plan to visit fewer channels, meaning retailers will have a harder time maintaining the same level of foot traffic as last year. Retailers will have to strive harder to get shoppers through the door by investing more in order to entice people with promotions, deals, proper communication, and incentives outside of the store," said Craig Elston, senior vice president, insight and strategy at The Integer Group.

The study also shows that:

  • Only 38% of people said they would shop a month or more before school starts, compared to 45% last year.
  • 62% said they would wait until at least 2 to 3 weeks before school starts to begin back-to-school shopping, despite planning many weeks in advance.
  • Shoppers have heightened their perceptions of private label products. This year, 38% of back-to-school shoppers are buying more private label products compared to 31% last year.
  • Only 1-out-of-3 shoppers believe brand names are of higher quality although 57% of respondents agree that brand names offer more attractive packaging.

Data for The Checkout comes from a national survey conducted by Integer and M/A/R/C where consumers are asked about their shopping attitudes, shopping behaviors, and economic outlook. Topics range from criteria shoppers use to select retailers, to which in-store stimulus is most likely to drive purchase, to factors that might lead shoppers to leave an aisle empty-handed. The Checkout is available for download at Integer's blog ShopperCulture.com.

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