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Online Back-to-School Shoppers to Spend More

Higher average spend expected, but these shoppers are more value-minded.

Do people tend to spend more when they buy online than when they shop at brick-and-mortars? According to the results of a new back-to-school consumer survey, they do—and by a substantial margin.

The National Retail Federation’s group reports that, for the coming school year, online shoppers will spend 27 percent more for school-related necessities than back-to-school shoppers as a whole.

The survey, conducted for the NRF by BIGInsight, finds that back-to-school shoppers will spend an average of $688.62 on clothing, shoes, school supplies and electronics. However, those who expect to make all of their back-to-school purchases online will spend an average of $874.32 on these items.

That’s not to say that online shoppers are carefree spenders. In fact, the opposite is true, points out.

“Online back-to-school consumers are careful shoppers, to be sure, fastidiously comparing prices and products, consulting customer reviews, and looking for and redeeming coupons and offers,” the retail group notes on the blog.

According to BIGInsight, online back-to-school shoppers are more likely than the overall survey group to let the economy influence their buying habits, with higher percentages across the board saying they will purchase store brands, comparison shop, shop for sales and use various other cost-saving tactics.

However, suggests that retailers don’t necessarily need to offer the lowest price, or pile on freebies and extras to attract discriminating online shoppers.

“Instead, provide genuine value and keep offers simple and to the point,” the group advises.

About the author

Crista Souza
Crista Souza is founding editor of A journalism graduate of San Jose State University, she spent 13 years as a business and technology reporter in Silicon Valley. Crista has been writing about B2C and C2C ecommerce since 2008. Opinions expressed here may not be shared by The Online Seller and/or its principals.

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