Back-To-School CE Spending To Rise 33%: Survey

By Alan Wolf On Aug 6 2012 - 4:01am

WASHINGTON – Back-to-school spending on CE and IT products is expected to increase 33.3 percent over last year to about $9.6 billion, a new survey indicates.

According to a July poll of 8,509 consumers by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and BIGinsight, parents will spend a net average of $217.88 on computers, handheld devices and other CE products this season, up from $189.51 in 2011.

Most respondents said they will purchase their backto- school items, including apparel and school supplies, in discount stores three weeks to one month before the start of the fall semester.

More than one quarter (26.3 percent) said they would do their shopping at an electronics store, up from 21.7 percent last year, while 39.6 percent plan to shop online, up from 31.7 percent last year.

CE spending may be even higher for college-bound kids and their families, who are expected to purchase $12.8 billion worth of computers, mobile phones, cameras and personal music players – up 6.7 percent from last year.

NRF president/CEO Matthew Shay said the trade group fully expects retailers to be “aggressive with their promotions both in-store and online, keeping an eye on inventory levels as families look to spread out their shopping throughout the entire summer.”

Results of the NRF poll jibe with a separate survey by comparison shopping site PriceGrabber, which indicated that 46 percent of consumers are planning to spend more this back-to-school shopping season than in 2011, and that 40 percent plan to purchase a tech item.

Among the latter, 50 percent said they would buy a new laptop, 49 percent plan to purchase a tablet computer, 28 percent intend to buy a smartphone, and 10 percent will purchase a desktop computer.

Among all respondents, flash drives were the most popular tech product, cited for planned purchases by 30 percent, followed by laptops (19 percent), tablets (16 percent), computer accessories (15 percent), mobile phones (12 percent), and desktop computers (5 percent).

“PriceGrabber survey data shows an increased consumer appetite for tech products with more back-to-school shoppers planning to purchase electronic tablets this year compared to 2011,” said general manager Graham Jones. “Tablet computers are lighter in weight and more portable allowing students to carry them from class to class and providing back-to-school shoppers with an alternative to more expensive laptops.”

The online poll also found 37 percent of shoppers plan to use their mobile phones within brick-and-mortar stores to compare prices of back-to-school products, although only 14 percent said they would make purchases via their mobile devices. More than half (56 percent) said they plan to do their back-to-school shopping at discount, bargain and outlet stores, and 62 percent said they would use comparison shopping websites to save money. Free shipping was the most popular shopping inducement, cited by 74 percent.

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