PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. — Once again, consumers are putting off back-to-school shopping until the last minute, but retailers can take solace in the fact that they intend to spend more this year, NPD reported.
According to NPD's survey, 31% of respondents said they plan to spend more this year, compared with 22% who made that claim in 2011. The number of consumers who plan to spend less went from 38% in 2011 to 24% this year, while those who plan to spend the same rose from 40% to 46%.
When it comes to when they plan to shop, the numbers were essentially the same from 2011 to 2012. This year, 37% shoppers said they will finish their back-to-school shopping by Aug. 1 compared with 38% from the year before. This year, 58% of consumers plan to have their shopping done by Sept. 1, compared with 57% for the prior year.
“Retailers should plan to see a rise in sales when the temperature drops,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at NPD. “The summer heat wave in much of the country is a possible contributor to the delay in back-to-school shopping.”
Where consumers spend their money this year has shifted, with the bulk of the spending to be done at department stores (26% of those surveyed), followed by footwear specialty stores (25%) and online (16%).
“There will be waves of sales growth — in the early stages, school supplies and electronics will do well," said Cohen. "And when school is back in session apparel and footwear will show some true promise, driving shoppers to department, sporting goods, and specialty stores."