A new poll by Walgreen Co. sheds light on what parents will be looking for — and looking to avoid — this back-to-school shopping season.

Walgreens, back-to-school shopping season, back-to-school shoppers, school supplies, back-to-school lists, drug chain, Bryan Pugh, Directions Research, immunizations, physicals

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Walgreens survey gets bead on back-to-school shoppers

August 6th, 2013

DEERFIELD, Ill. – A new poll by Walgreen Co. sheds light on what parents will be looking for — and looking to avoid — this back-to-school shopping season.

Walgreens said Tuesday that of 1,000 U.S. adults (with school-age children) surveyed online late last month by Directions Research, 28% cited "lowest prices" as the top factor in deciding where to buy school supplies.

Next in importance for back-to-school shoppers is knowing that a retailer has exactly what's needed from the child's supply list comes, which was cited by 18% of respondents, though that percentage jumped to 32% for parents with high school students. Nearly 80% of parents said they use back-to-school lists, and Walgreens noted that for those who may have forgotten or misplaced their list when they go shopping, its stores have School Supply List Holders containing copies of shopping lists from local schools.

The drug chain's survey also revealed that 43% of parents purchase their children's school supplies less than a month but more than a week before school starts, while 10% buy supplies the week before and up until the day school begins.

Parents polled also expressed the things they dislike when doing back-to-school shopping, led by out-of-stock items (cited by 35% of parents), crowded aisles (23%), lines at checkout (18%), having to search for products (15%) and impatient children (8%).

"With thousands of back-to-school items available at our more than 8,000 stores, many of which are just around the corner, Walgreens has a great variety of in-stock supplies that will meet parents' and children's needs alike," Bryan Pugh, vice president of merchandising, store design and Well Experience at Walgreens, said in a statement. "During stressful times like this, we want to make our customers' shopping experiences as quick and convenient as possible."

In terms traditional back-to-school supply needs, 83% of parents cited paper/notebooks, followed by pack of pencils (80%), pack of pens (74%), binders (72%), book bag (72%), subject folders (70%) and box of crayons (56%).

Themed school supplies remain a trend, with cartoon character-themed supplies desired by 22% of high school students, according to the survey. Pop singer-themed supplies are most popular among middle-school students (43%).

Almost two-thirds of parents (62%) also indicated that healthy solutions like tissues and hand sanitizer are important to include in their kids' backpacks.

On the health front, the survey found that 44% of parents wait until one to two weeks before school starts to get their children's physicals, and 40% get their kids' immunizations within the last two weeks before school opens.