Almost half of consumers plan to spend more this back-to-school shopping season than they did in 2011, according to a poll by PriceGrabber.

Back-to-school shoppers, back-to-school shopping season, PriceGrabber, Back-to-School Shopping Forecast, Graham Jones, back-to-school season

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Back-to-school shoppers look to spend more, poll finds

June 18th, 2012

LOS ANGELES – Almost half of consumers plan to spend more this back-to-school shopping season than they did in 2011, according to a poll by PriceGrabber.

The online shopping site said Monday, in its Back-to-School Shopping Forecast survey, 46% of consumers polled aim to spend more this year, up significantly from the 13% of shoppers who indicated last year that they planned to spend more for the upcoming school season.

About 1,500 of the 4,450 consumers surveyed said they plan to shop this back-to-school season. Thirty-five percent of respondents expect to spend the same amount of money, and 19%  plan to spend less this year. In 2011, 52% of survey respondents said they would spend the same amount of money on back-to-school shopping, and 35% said they would spend less.

Also, signs are that consumers will start their back-to-school shopping earlier in 2012. According to PriceGrabber survey data, 17% of consumers plan to begin their back-to-school shopping in June, 35% plan to start in July, 44% aim to do so August and only 3% expect to start their shopping in September.

Last year respondents planned to shop a little later in the summer, with 13% expecting to begin their shopping in June, 31% in July, 49% in August and 7% in September.

"From last year's holiday shopping season through the middle of 2012, we have seen consumers starting to shop earlier surrounding major shopping seasons and holidays, and we expect this trend to continue this back-to-school shopping season," Graham Jones, general manager of PriceGrabber, said in a statement. "While PriceGrabber survey data reveals that many consumers are planning to spend more money this back-to-school shopping season, a few are still hesitant about spending, leading shoppers to search for deals even earlier to take advantage of retailer incentives and discounts such as free shipping, coupons and sales."

As they did in 2011, shoppers plan to spread out their back-to-school purchases this year in order to distribute the cost over a longer time period. The PriceGrabber survey found that 55% of consumers plan to spread out their back-to-school purchases in 2012.

"Back-to-school shopping can quickly become expensive," Jones stated. "In today's challenging economic climate, it's important for families and students to save on back-to-school items. Many consumers are harnessing the power of the Internet to find deals, compare prices, set price alerts, print coupons, and take advantage of online promotional codes and free shipping to save extra cash."