Survey: BTS shopping shows surge in coupon use

AUSTIN, Texas — A survey released by coupon site RetailMeNot found that coupon use for back-to-school shopping surged this year, particularly for retailers selling books, school supplies and apparel.

According to RetailMeNot, which measured coupon usage during the July 1 to Aug. 20 selling period, as compared with the prior three months, the average daily coupon clicks increased more than 130% for book retailers, more than 40% for merchants selling back-to-school supplies and more than 30% for stores selling apparel and shoes.

RetailMeNot also announced the findings of a survey conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs, which revealed new shopping patterns among consumers with children headed back or already back in the classroom. Results included:

  • More than half (59%) of parents said they usually finish their back-to-school shopping by the end of summer;

  • Forty-seven percent said they will finish the bulk of their back-to-school shopping in August; 8% said they are usually done in July; 3% in June; and 2% before the previous school year even ends;

  • Nearly 3-in-10 parents (28%) report that they usually finish the bulk of their back-to-school shopping at some point in September; and

  • By region, parents in the Northeast are more likely to finish the bulk of their shopping sometime in September (45%) as compared with those from the West (28%), Midwest (26%), or South (22%).

Although the majority of parents said that they began their back-to-school shopping over the summer, when asked how far along they are once school actually starts, fewer than 4-in-10 (37%) said that they are done with their shopping by the start of school. About 3-in-10 (28%) parents said that they usually have a few things still left to buy for their children but that they are mostly done; 9% said they still have several key items they need to purchase; and 4% said they are nowhere near done.

Additionally, about 1-in-10 (11%) said that they like to shop after the start of the school year to see what their children's actual needs are.

The survey found that in-store shopping is far preferable to online, with 83% of parents opting to do back-to-school shopping in stores, and 8% preferring to do so online.

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