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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : July 07, 2016

Parents of children entering freshman year excel in back to school shopping via mobile

Parents plan to do more of their back to school shopping via mobile, according to new research released by The Rubicon Project, particularly parents of children entering freshman year at college.

by Helen Leggatt

More than a third (34%) of all parents of children in K-12 and half (49%) of parents of children entering freshman year of college have already begun to shop for back to school equipment, found The Rubicon Project's survey. Six in 10 (61%) plan to spend more this year than last - spending, on average, $917 per child.

Among parents of freshman students, the amount they plan to spend is almost double the amount K-12 parents plan - $1,378 versus $684. Spending on tech appears to be pushing up costs. The biggest budget item for both K-12 and freshman parents is technology costing $343 and $470 respectively, followed by apparel for K-12 parents ($233) and dorm supplies for freshman parents ($324).

While more than half of parents intend to shop online for technology and telecoms items, shopping for school supplies will mainly take place in physical stores. Amazon was the most popular place for parents hunting for technology items such as laptops and tablets, while Wal-Mart was the top store among parents for apparel (65%) and school supplies (77%).

However, mobile is set to play a significant role in back to school shopping this year, more so among parents of freshman students.

According to Dallas Lawrence, chief communications officer at Rubicon Project, "what is really exciting is that we are seeing 60% of parents turning to their mobile devices for at least some back-to-school shopping, with 30% of parents planning to do at least a quarter of their total shopping on mobile. And this is especially true for parents of college freshmen who are significantly outpacing K-12 parents in using mobile devices for some of their back-to-school shopping."

Last month, a survey by social engagement and insights platform Crowdtap of 300 adults in the U.S. who plan to organize their family's back-to-school purchases this year found that social media is playing an increasing role in the discovery process.

In fact, social media and blogs were cited by 37% of respondents as being more influential than traditional media (36%) or online ratings and reviews (27%).

Specifically, more than a quarter of those surveyed (27%) said they would be using Pinterest to plan their back-to-school shopping, using Pinterest boards to create shopping lists, while 25% said they would be searching the site for food and snack inspiration.

Tags: back to school, ecommerce, freshman, mobile, shopping trends, US

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