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Affordable Apparel is Top Concern Among 2016 Back-To-School Shoppers

As back-to-school beckons, families will spend a majority of their budgets on clothing, not school supplies.

According to surveys by Ebates and retail research firm JLL, affordable apparel is a top concern among BTS consumers this year. JLL said that 50 percent of shoppers ranked apparel as the top BTS category in their budgets. Ebates said that 46 percent of parents worry they will not be able to afford all BTS clothing for their teens.

JLL’s survey demonstrated that apparel topped off consumers’ BTS budgets, with 52.2% of respondents that said they will spend more on clothing this year over other categories, including books, electronics and supplies. “Low price” was ranked as the top concern for apparel shopping—50.8% of respondents agreed that affordable prices were more important over quality and selection.

More than half of these cost-efficient consumers also said they will purchase BTS apparel at department stores and superstores. An estimated 54 percent of respondents said they will buy clothes at department stores and about 51 percent said they will also buy it at superstores. Top apparel stores for respondents included Old Navy, The Children’s Place and Ross Dress for Less.

The JLL survey also demonstrated that household income had no effect on overall consumers’ favorite BTS shopping destinations, which included J.C. Penney, Target and Walmart.

“This year, we found that consumer income seems to have little effect on their budgets or behavior when it comes to back-to-school shopping,” said Holly Rome, JLL Retail’s national leasing director. “The top four shopping destinations were consistent across income groups.”

Ebates, a shopping platform that gives cash back to consumers when they purchase items at select retailers, provides an inexpensive and seamless shopping experience. The company’s survey demonstrated that both parents and teens anticipate much stress when shopping for name-brand clothing (52 percent) and off-brand clothing essentials (20 percent) prior to the BTS season.

While a majority of parents (46 percent) said they worried about their apparel BTS budgets, some teens (43 percent) also said they were concerned about apparel pricing.

“For the third year in a row, our annual back to school survey shows that being frugal is a top concern for parents,” Ebates CEO Kevin Johnson, said.