CHICAGO More consumers are turning to low-cost retailers, discounts and store brands during the back-to-school shopping season, according to data released Monday by market research company SymphonyIRI Group.
According to the Chicago-based firm’s annual back-to-school report, 69% of all respondents are focusing on watching spending and saving money. Among those making more than $100,000 a year, 46% plan to do more shopping at such mass-merchandise supercenters as Walmart Supercenter and SuperTarget, compared with 50% of the general population. Fifty-seven percent of all respondents said they would choose items on sale over their favorite brands, while 58% said they would stock up on items on sale.
“The good news corporations are reporting in their [second-quarter] earnings is not translating to consumer confidence,” SymphonyIRI editor for Times & Trends Susan Viamari stated. “Even shoppers in higher-income brackets are channel shifting to save money. Typically, lower-income shoppers are most price-sensitive and lead in economizing trends.”
Some consumer behavior points to the trend as well. Slightly more than 46% of respondents are buying back-to-school items gradually — buying a few at first and then buying others when the need arises — while 42% are using leftover items from last year, and 40% are minimizing purchases and looking for ways to extend the life of the items they buy.
Private labels have increased in popularity as well. Among consumers making $55,000 or more, 31% considered private-label brands to be inferior to national brands, but more than two-thirds considered them equal or better, which SymphonyIRI cited as an opportunity for manufacturers to reach more affluent shoppers.