According to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) latest Back-to-School/College Surveys, the average family with children in grades K to 12 completed 49.9 percent of its shopping by mid-August, down slightly from last year’s 52.1 percent.
As of August 12, fewer families had stepped out to take advantage of retailers’ special school savings opportunities; specifically, 23.6 percent had not started shopping yet, up from 20.9 percent last year. However, some were eager to get started: 15.7 percent said they have completed their lists, which is roughly the same as last year.
Meanwhile, college families got a jump on retailers’ sales and promotions this summer, with 23.4 percent stating that they completely finished with their lists, up from 20 percent last year. Slightly fewer families this year say they haven’t started shopping, at 26.2 percent versus 28.8 percent last year.
The data shows some back-to-school shoppers make it a point to look for coupons and sales for new footwear, supplies, electronic items, and apparel. According to the most recent survey, 15.2 percent of back-to-school shoppers said 100 percent of purchases were influenced by coupons, sales, and promotions, the highest percentage since 2011; while 14.8 percent of college students and their families say 76 to 99 percent of their shopping was influenced by coupons, also the highest for that range in the survey’s history.