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School’s Not Out, But Consumers Are Already Back-to-School Shopping

School may still be in session, but consumers are already getting a jump on what students will be wearing when classes start back up.

The school shopping season has typically ramped up in July, but a new report by Bizrate Insights, a division of e-commerce and consumer analytics company Connexity, said 5 percent of consumers got going with BTS shopping in April, and 7 percent more plan to buy before June.

Still, more than half of shoppers will purchase closer to the start of school, between late July and early August, but the early birds should have retailers on alert.

“Retailers should be ready to support shoppers across channels by the end of June. Product availability, price and coupons are important, but be sure to also include indicators of quality, such as ratings, reviews and guarantees,” Adotas reported Bizrate Insights VP Hayley Silver as saying.

Of those surveyed, 62 percent said they’d spend less than last year, with the household average totaling $606. For households with college-age students, that number was a higher $1,086. And this year, 49 percent said quality would trump price, perhaps indicating a diversion from solely low-cost, fast fashion buys.

Even more so than finding the right value for price, 30 percent of BTS shoppers said brand loyalty will play into their purchasing decisions, and 25 percent said they are influenced by store ratings and reviews.

In keeping with the general trend toward mobile in all areas of shopping, on-the-go technology will star in BTS buying too.

Sixty-nine percent of shoppers said they would use mobile to research products, 48 percent said they would use it to make purchases, 41 percent said it will be a tool to fuel price comparisons, and 37 percent (more women than men) said coupons would be the reason they called on their mobile devices this back-to-school season.