Retailers can expect consumers to boost their spending for school supplies, clothing and other needs this back-to-school shopping season, according to a survey by PriceGrabber.

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Poll: Bigger basket likely for back-to-school shoppers

July 11th, 2012

LOS ANGELES – Retailers can expect consumers to boost their spending for school supplies, clothing and other needs this back-to-school shopping season, according to a survey by PriceGrabber.

The online shopping site said Wednesday that its 2012 Back-to-School Shopping Forecast revealed that 63% of consumers plan to spend up to $500 this back-to-school season, up from 48% in 2011. Another 20% of respondents aim to spend $500 to $1,000, and 17% said they don't have a back-to-school shopping budget this year.

About 46% of consumers expect to spend more this back-to-school shopping season, PriceGrabber reported when releasing initial results from the survey in June. The poll includes responses from 4,450 U.S. online shoppers, with 1,509 of the respondents saying they plan to shop this back-to-school season.

School supplies and back-to-school apparel headline consumers' shopping lists. PriceGrabber said that when survey respondents were asked to select all of the items they plan to buy this back-to-school season, 83% cited general school supplies such as notebooks, binders and pencils, and 79% said new clothing for their children. Also, 51% said they plan to purchase a backpack or tote bag, and 50% expect to buy books.

Technology products continue to rise in importance as a back-to-school purchase, PriceGrabber noted. The poll found that 40% of shoppers plan to buy a tech item this back-to-school season. When asked to name the tech-related products they aim to purchase, 50% said a new laptop splurge, 49% cited a tablet computer, 28% mentioned a smartphone and 10% indicated a desktop computer.

"Shoppers are looking to purchase the basics again this year with general school supplies and clothing topping back-to-school lists, according to our survey data," Graham Jones, general manager of PriceGrabber, said in a statement. "PriceGrabber survey data also shows an increased consumer appetite for tech products, with more back-to-school shoppers planning to purchase electronic tablets this year compared to 2011. Tablet computers are lighter in weight and more portable, allowing students to carry them from class to class and providing back-to-school shoppers with an alternative to more expensive laptops."

More shoppers also expect to make purchases online this year, PriceGrabber said, explaining that many consumers will go on the Internet to find the best back-to-school shopping deals to complement their in-store purchases. When the survey asked shoppers to name the method in which they plan to buy back-to-school items this year, 79% said they plan to shop online, up from 69% in 2011.

"We suspect that given the large of amount of back-to-school shoppers who said they will shop online, many are planning to do so in order to comparison shop, set price alerts, find coupons and take advantage of last-minute discounts, free shipping and price drops," stated Jones. "It seems that consumers are becoming more open to exploring creative options for saving money."