New Survey Reveals When it Comes to Back-to-School Shopping, Moms Are Still Old School

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Moms plan to spend more than last year, but social media and online purchasing play only minimal roles in how she shops

School Family Media

School Family Media, Inc.

What we found interesting was that despite the emergence of new technologies and communication platforms, moms aren’t planning on utilizing these much when it comes to their back-to-school shopping.

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School Family Media, Inc., a marketing and media services company focused exclusively on promoting and enabling meaningful parent involvement at K-8 schools, recently released the results of their 2011 Back-to-School Shopping Survey. The results, garnered in June 2011 via an online survey with 1,400 women with school age kids responding, reveal some unexpected trends in moms’ shopping preferences and intentions for the upcoming back-to-school season.

“We work with moms all year, across all demographics, who are engaged with their kids’ education, so we were uniquely positioned to gain and share some insights about moms’ attitudes regarding back-to-school shopping,” said John Driscoll, President – Consumer Connections, School Family Media. “What we found interesting was that despite the emergence of new technologies and communication platforms, moms aren’t planning on utilizing these much when it comes to their back-to-school shopping. In fact, social media was moms’ least preferred method for receiving information about products and promotions, and 90 percent of moms still planned to make the majority of their purchases at actual stores versus online.”

Moms did show they are active online and receptive to marketing outreach when it comes to their email inbox however. Over 70 percent chose “Email from brand/store” as one of their most preferred ways to receive information about back-to-school products and promotions.

According to the survey, moms are:

  •     Not looking to social media for information about products and promotions

Respondents reported that Facebook and Twitter were their least preferred method for receiving information about back-to-school products and promotions. Most preferred methods were emails directly from brands or retail stores followed by Sunday newspaper inserts, personal referrals from family and friends, brand/store websites, magazines, and radio/tv.

  •     Making majority of purchases at actual stores vs. online

Asked if they were more likely to make purchases online or at a retail store, respondents overwhelmingly chose the latter with 89% indicating clothes/apparel purchases would be made at a store vs. online (11%). The category with the highest anticipated online purchases was technology-related equipment (computers, software and cell phones) where 28% anticipated making those purchases online vs. at a store.

  •     Spending more this year, compared to last year – but still price-conscious

More than twice as many respondents (29% to 14%) reported they anticipated spending more on back-to-school shopping than last year with 57% indicating they would spend the same as last year. The clothing /apparel category was cited the most by respondents for where their increased spending would occur.

As moms spend more, value appears to be more important than ever, as the vast majority (75%) listed price or coupon/promotional offer as the biggest factor influencing their purchases followed by quality, convenience and selection.

  •     Not rushing to complete shopping before the first day of school

A surprising number of respondents (38%) indicated they would make the bulk of their purchases AFTER school starts. Even in the clothing/apparel category, more than 1 out of every 5 respondents indicated they would do the bulk of their shopping after school starts.

For more information and complete survey results, contact John Driscoll at jdriscoll(at)schoolfamilymedia(dot)com.

Since 1999, School Family Media, Inc., through its PTO Today, Inc. property, has been connecting with school parent leaders and school families at every public and private K-8 school nationwide – more than 83,000+ schools - through its array of print, online and event school-family programs. School Family Media is focused exclusively on helping parents and schools help children succeed by promoting and enabling practical and meaningful parent involvement at school. School Family Media’s parent-focused, out-of-the-classroom programs, such as School Family Nights®, Back2School®, Healthy School Kids® and, offer school families the widest possible range of opportunities and resources for strengthening the connection between the parent, student and school community. Learn more at

John Driscoll
President, Consumer Connections
School Family Media, Inc.
800-644-3561 x202

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