PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. The NPD Group found that 38% of consumers polled in its back-to-school spending intentions survey plan to spend less this year, compared with 44% of respondents a year ago.
Consumers are continuing to put off shopping until the last minute. Half the number of consumers this year (3%) compared with last year (6%) said they have purchased for back-to-school already, NPD reported.
“More and more consumers keep telling us that they are putting off their shopping later and later each year,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group. “I would say that this is change in the timing of consumption, more people ‘buying now and wearing now,’ is part of the lingering impact of the recession.”
While consumers’ plans indicate a later start to their shopping they still plan to buy and the category that tops most back-to-school shopping lists is school supplies with 74% of the study’s respondents saying they plan to purchase them. Two categories that appear to be getting this biggest lift this season are apparel (58% this year vs. 52% last year) and footwear (45% this year vs. 39% last year).
This year national chain stores are seeing the biggest boost in the number of consumers who say they plan to shop there, according to NPD. This year 33% said they plan to shop them, last year that number was 29%. Mass merchants, office supply stores, department stores and footwear specialty stores round out the top five.