New Survey Shows Shoppers Using Smartphones and Tablets for Back to School Shopping

WASHINGTON, D.C. – With a little help from their smartphones and tablets, families with school-aged children are hitting stores and websites ready to tackle their back-to-school lists. According to NRF’s 2011 Back-to-School and College surveys conducted by BIGresearch, consumers with smartphones and tablets will use their devices to research products, redeem coupons, look up store information, and even make purchases.

“Retailers are using everything in their arsenal to attract customers whenever and wherever they want to shop – and mobile retailing is a big part of that strategy,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “Consumers looking to save time and money while shopping for school items will be able to find their favorite brands in an instant, complete their checklists, and purchase what they need all with a swipe of their finger.”  

Though shopping via a smartphone or tablet device is still an emerging trend, many Americans are already keen on the concept. The survey found four in 10 (39.6 percent) college shoppers and three in 10 (30.2 percent) K-12th grade shoppers with tablets say they plan to use their tablet devices to purchase products for back to school this year.

When it comes to smartphone shopping, nearly one out of five (18.8 percent) K-12 grade shoppers and 16.8 percent of college shoppers with smartphones say they will make purchases via their device.

Of the college shoppers with tablets, juniors, graduate students and freshmen will be the ones using tablet devices the most to purchase their school items. Nearly half of surveyed juniors (47.5 percent), graduate students (47.4 percent) and freshmen (47.2 percent) say they plan to purchase school products via their tablet. 

According to data released in July, NRF found the average family with children in grades K-12 and in college will spend $603.63 and $808.71 respectively.

About the Survey

NRF’s 2011 Back to School and Back to College Consumer Intentions and Actions Surveys were designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to back to school spending and back to college spending. The surveys were conducted for NRF by BIGresearch. The poll of 8,684 consumers was conducted from July 1-6, 2011. The consumer polls have a margin of error of plus or minus 1.0 percent.

BIGresearch consumer intelligence provides analysis of behavior in areas of products and services, retail, financial services, automotive and media. The BIGresearch Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey (CIATM) of 8,000+ respondents is conducted monthly and the Simultaneous Media Usage® Survey (SIMM®) of 15,000+ respondents is conducted semi-annually.

As the world’s largest retail trade association and the voice of retail worldwide, NRF’s global membership includes retailers of all sizes, formats and channels of distribution as well as chain restaurants and industry partners from the United States and more than 45 countries abroad. In the U.S., NRF represents an industry that includes more than 3.6 million establishments and which directly and indirectly accounts for 42 million jobs – one in four U.S. jobs. The total U.S. GDP impact of retail is $2.5 trillion annually, and retail is a daily barometer of the health of the nation’s economy.

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