NPD Annual Back-to-School Spending Intentions Report

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Consumers Evolving Consumption Behavior Influences Intentions

“While the differences in the numbers aren’t all that dramatic there are dramatic indications of changes in consumption patterns,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group, Inc.

The NPD Group, Inc., a leading market research company, released the results of its annual back-to-school study of consumers’ purchasing intentions for the 2011 season. Overall consumers say they plan to spend about the same as last year but will start their shopping a little later this year.

See Chart:Back To School Spending Intentions

See Chart: When do you plan to start you back-to-school shopping?

“The consumer is holding on, but it is an indication that consumers remain cautious about their spending,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group, Inc.

Even as consumers continue to delay the start of their shopping, they still plan to buy some of the traditional back-to-school categories, with school supplies still topping most shopping lists.

See Chart: Category Spending In Dollar Order

What is it that will motivate consumers to purchase for back-to-school this year? The top reason cited again this year is ‘value.’

See Chart: What are your reasons for deciding which back-to-school items to purchase?

“Here we have a clear sign that ‘trendy and fashionable’ or ‘influenced by friends’ is shrinking and ‘value’ is gaining momentum,” said Cohen, “And just when you think that ‘value’ can’t get any more important, consumers tell us that value is what they are looking for. What’s more, their idea of what ‘value’ is continues to evolve. Today’s consumer value equation is the combination of price, quality, and name brands they trust.”

“While the differences in the numbers aren’t all that dramatic there are dramatic indications of changes in consumption patterns,” stated Cohen, “The study’s results clearly point out that consumers will be shopping later, looking for value, and searching out lower priced options.”

Methodology: The results of this study were based on a poll of 12,000 members of The NPD Group, Inc.’s consumer panel. The survey was administered from July 1st to July 13th, 2011.

About The NPD Group, Inc.
The NPD Group is the leading provider of reliable and comprehensive consumer and retail information for a wide range of industries. Today, more than 1,800 manufacturers, retailers, and service companies rely on NPD to help them drive critical business decisions at the global, national, and local market levels. NPD helps our clients to identify new business opportunities and guide product development, marketing, sales, merchandising, and other functions. Information is available for the following industry sectors: automotive, beauty, commercial technology, consumer technology, entertainment, fashion, food and beverage, foodservice, home, office supplies, software, sports, toys, and wireless. For more information, visit http://www.npd.com/, or follow us Twitter at twitter.com/marshalcohen and twitter.com/npdfashion. Become a fan of Marshal Cohen at http://www.facebook.com/npdmarshalcohen and watch more on NPD’s YouTube channel.

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Beth Boyle
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