Over 34 percent of parents ranked low prices as the biggest draw to where they do their back-to-school shopping, above wide selection, geographic location, quality products, and ease of shopping, according to JLL‘s 2019 Back to School Consumer Survey.
Despite that priority, 45 percent of parents will spend more than $250 back-to-school shopping this year, marking an increase in expected spending compared to last year when less than 40 percent of parents expected to spend that much.
Even higher spenders, budgeting more than $500, account for 19.3 percent of the 1,000 parents surveyed, up from 16.7 percent last year.
Discount big box stores such as Walmart ranked as the most popular place for parents to do their back-to-school shopping, bringing in 71.3 percent of shoppers. Online stores draw 41.4 percent of shoppers, and traditional department stores attract 31.6 percent.
Parents are less likely to purchase items from office supply stores or accessory and apparel stores than last year, attracting 23.7 percent and 21.5 percent of shoppers respectively. Last year, office supply stores and accessory and apparel stores drew in 31.2 percent and 25.0 percent of shoppers, respectively.
The most attractive stores to parents were mass merchandisers, according to the survey. When asked to name three specific retailers they plan to visit, 95.7 percent of them named a mass merchandiser. Walmart and Target were name-dropped the most—Target snagged mentions from 44 percent of those surveyed due to affordable prices and wide selection, and Walmart snagged mentions from 51.1 percent of respondents due to low prices.
Across most income groups, Walmart, Target and Amazon were the top retailers for back-to-school shopping, with a notable departure: those earning $25,001-$50,000 preferred JC Penney over Amazon.