The New York Times has a new trend alert: Parents and kids (teens in particular) are waiting until school is actually in session before doing a big chunk of their back-to-school shopping.
As television viewers and newspaper subscribers, we’ve been seeing ads and circulars crowing about the back-to-school season since July. But this shopping season may be shifting to a later date on the calendar. Teens want to see what the latest styles are before committing. And parents are waiting for better deals. Add later school start dates and the forces of nature — a warm summer means people aren’t really thinking about down vests and other winter gear — and you have a lot of retailers who are scrambling to scrounge up sales where they were once forthcoming.
The economy is very likely playing a big role in this, as it is in everything else. The article makes the point that shoppers are trying to assess what they really need before they start shopping. Moreover, if shoppers know they can wait a little longer and get a discount, they’re going to wait.
But the nature of back-to-school shopping could be changing also. Research from American Express shows that the number of Americans that will include electronic devices in the back-to-school shopping mix is up nine percent. The NYT article makes reference to the slowing of school supply sales; old-school items like notebooks and pens. The research says that 86 percent plan on spending more on clothing and accessories, but it doesn’t say when they plan on doing that shopping. Or where. CBS News reports that more people are doing their back-to-school shopping online.