A survey by the International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs indicates consumers will spend more on back-to-school shopping this year.
The average household expenditure on back-to-school items will be about $300 this year, which would be an increase over last year for 42 percent of those surveyed. Forty-four percent plan to spend the same amount as last year, while only 14 percent indicated they would spend less.
Of the 42 percent of consumers that plan to increase spending, nearly half indicated it was due to a need to replace wardrobes and school supplies, the survey said.
The back-to-school season is second only to Christmas in importance for retailers. The Global Port Tracker report by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates this month forecast a strong summer-fall peak season for containerized imports.
“Despite the relatively soft economic conditions over the last quarter, consumers view back-to-school merchandise as essential, which is likely a key reason that so many consumers plan to increase spending this year,” said Michael P. Niemira, ICSC vice president of research and chief economist.
“Even more encouraging for retailers is that nearly 20 percent of respondents plan to increase spending by more than 10 percent compared to the 2011 season. Looking ahead, the industry should continue to see increases in sales as the intensity in back-to-school season shopping heats up next month.”
The survey indicated the top back-to-school purchase by consumers this year is school supplies, 88 percent; followed by apparel, 79 percent. They plan to buy that merchandise at discount stores, 83 percent; office supply stores, 46 percent; and traditional department stores, 44 percent.
The ICSC-Goldman Sachs consumer tracking survey was conducted by Opinion Research Corp. between July 12 and July 15.
One-third of households surveyed reported they have begun to shop. Sixty-five percent reported they would begin in August.