NRF survey: Back-to-school shoppers using smartphones, tablets

Americans warm up to emerging trend

WASHINGTON — A survey released Thursday by the National Retail Federation found that nearly one-third of tablet owners will use the device to purchase back-to-school items.

According to NRF’s 2011 Back-to-School and College surveys conducted by BIGresearch, consumers with smartphones and tablets will use their devices to research products, redeem coupons, look up store information and even make purchases.

“Retailers are using everything in their arsenal to attract customers whenever and wherever they want to shop — and mobile retailing is a big part of that strategy,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Consumers looking to save time and money while shopping for school items will be able to find their favorite brands in an instant, complete their checklists, and purchase what they need all with a swipe of their finger.”

Though shopping via a smartphone or tablet device is still an emerging trend, many Americans already are keen on the concept. The survey found 4-in-10 (39.6%) college shoppers and 3-in-10 (30.2%) kindergarten through 12th grade shoppers with tablets said they plan to use their tablet devices to purchase products for back to school this year.

When it comes to smartphone shopping, 18.8% of kindergarten through 12th grade shoppers and 16.8% of college shoppers with smartphones said they will make purchases via their device.

Of the college shoppers with tablets, freshmen, juniors and graduate students will be the ones using tablet devices the most to purchase their school items. Nearly half of surveyed freshmen (47.2%), juniors (47.5%) and graduate students (47.4%) said they plan to purchase school products via their tablet.

According to data released in July, NRF found the average family with children in grades K-12 and in college will spend $603.63 and $808.71, respectively.

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