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Don't Procrastinate: Most Have Just Begun Back-to-School Shopping
Indiana Ag Connection - 08/10/2018

Even with numerous schools back in session, many families have yet to begin the expensive and time-consuming task of checking off school-supply lists in preparation for the upcoming academic year.

A survey led by Richard Feinberg, a consumer psychologist and professor of consumer science at Purdue University, suggests 75 percent of money for back-to-school shopping will be spent in the next four weeks.

It's not surprising some parents have put off the task, considering families will spend $750 on average this year for school supplies, clothes, gadgets and other items, Feinberg said.

Back-to-school shopping is expected to attract big business for discount stores, such as Walmart and Meijer, as well as local shops capable of riding the social media wave, he said. Additionally, Amazon and other digital retailers are likely to soak up 15 percent of the anticipated $85 billion spent this year, he added.

"Most school spending is local and based on needs," Feinberg said. "Amazon does not get as personalized as local businesses do. The good news is social media such as Facebook and Pinterest can help small retailers; unfortunately, most of them do not have the knowledge or time to do this."

Price and convenience are the biggest factors influencing back-to-school shoppers, he said. Local businesses allowing consumers to search inventory and deals online will have the most success, he added.

"The big barrier to shopping local is awareness," he said. "Consumers know big-box stores will have what they need, and they do not know about other stores with the same prices. Local retailers need to improve their websites and ensure accurate information is available on Google."

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