If online retailers want to cash in on Prime Day, they better be offering deep discounts on back to school supplies. According to research released today by the National Retail Federation, families are scaling back on how much they spend on school supplies.
According to NRF’s Back-to-School Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, the average family with children in grades K-12 plans to spend $630.36 on electronics, apparel and other school needs, down from $669.28 last year. Total spending is expected to reach $24.9 billion. Additionally, indicating the continued growth in the back-to-school arena, families on average have spent 42% more on back to school over the past 10 years.
Regardless of the slight decrease, survey results point to a more confident consumer when it comes to spending and the impact of the economy. The survey found 76.4% of families with school-age children say they will change their spending because of the economy, the lowest in the seven years NRF has been tracking it, and down from 81.1% last year.
But even though Prime Day is today, it doesn’t mean back to school shoppers will be looking to get a head start on buying. NRF’s report indicates more families with children in grades K-12 are opting to wait before rushing out to shop.
According to the survey, 19.6% will shop at least two months before school, down from 22.5% last year. Starting a little later this year, two in five (42.8%) will shop at least three weeks to one month before school, down slightly from 44.5% last year. More families (30.3 percent) will shop one to two weeks before school, up from 25.4% last year.
Although Prime Day was invented by Amazon, Walmart, which has countered with its own week-long shopping holiday, should have an advantage because of its brick-and-mortar locations. Of those planning to shop online, nearly half (48.4%) of the NRF survey respondents said they will take advantage of retailers’ buy online, pick up in store or ship to store options, while 17.3% will look for expedited shipping offers. Nine in 10 (92.1%) will take advantage of retailers’ free shipping offers.
“Savvy and budget-conscious parents today have plenty of experience when it comes to looking around for great deals and value-add promotions, and it seems mom and dad will use that to their advantage this summer to take advantage of retailers’ omnichannel services,” said Prosper’s Principal Analyst Pam Goodfellow. “To ease hectic schedules and long shopping lists, it’s likely that we’ll continue to see consumers try out and regularly use services like free shipping, reserve online and even same-day delivery — options busy parents have been waiting for.”