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BizReport : Trends & Ideas archives : August 13, 2015

Parents relying less on social for back-to-school shopping

A new survey from Deloitte reveals that social is no longer the place for back-to-school shopping.

by Helen Leggatt

When Deloitte posed the question, "Do you plan to use social media sites (i.e., blogs, discussion groups or social networks) to assist in your back-to-school shopping?" to just over 1,000 U.S. parents with children in grades kindergarten through 12th grade the answer was surprising. Just 10% said they would do so, down from 18% last year and 35% in 2011.

The reason for the drop, believes Bob Falcey, marketing sector leader (U.S.) for Deloitte's retail and distribution practice, is that smartphone apps have taken over the role social media once played.

"While many parents use social media, we hypothesize they are doing so to connect with family and friends rather than to assist with shopping," said Falcey. "We also believe consumers have greater access to other sources of information - beyond social media - to get what they need, such as retailer and price-comparison apps."

Additional findings from Deloitte's 2015 'Back-to-School Survey' include:

- The number of consumers re-using items is up, rising from 26% to 39% between 2011 and 2015;

- Consumers are no longer exclusively driven by discounts;

- Consumers will be "mission-driven" and making most of the purchasing decisions prior to the store, with digital devices in greater play;

- More consumers are taking their time to finish their shopping lists - 31% plan to complete their back-to-school shopping after the start of the school year - up 5% from 2014;

- This year shows a 6% jump in smartphone owners using devices for shopping, with 80% of shoppers taking that approach.

"Consumers are sending a message to retailers that says the back-to-school shopping season just isn't that important anymore-and that could dramatically disrupt an industry that traditionally relies on this defined period for a significant portion of annual sales," said Alison Paul, Deloitte LLP vice chairman and retail and distribution sector leader.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: apps, back to school shopping trends, mobile, social, trends

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