Back-to-School Shopping: What Do American Parents Prefer?

The new school year has just begun, and American retailers are all stocked up for this major annual event. School supplies have become a booming business, which is why Piplsay initiated research among 24,249 American parents to understand how consumer trends are shaping this massive industry. Offline and online brands like Walmart, Staples, and Amazon can leverage this data in their decision making. For an in-depth analysis of the survey responses, download the full document here.

The end of summer marks the beginning of the back-to-school preparations. Topping the list of priorities usually is the school supply shopping. With plenty of variety and deals available to American consumers, Piplsay polled 24,249 parents across the country to find out how they shopped for school supplies this year? Here’s a summary of what we found.

In spite of America’s obsession with online shopping, nearly 70% of parents purchased school supplies from offline stores this year. Walmart continued to remain the one-stop-shop for the majority of Piplsay respondents. Together with Target, which came in a distant second, the two big-box stores made for more than half of the total shopping footfall.

Stressful or Stress-free shopping?

Here’s an interesting insight: Nearly half of American parents don’t consider back-to-school shopping stressful. In fact, a good 30% of them say that they look forward to it every year. The remaining 17% of parents, however, seem to take advantage of the ease and convenience of online shopping. This year, close to 40% of American families bought school supplies well before school started. The majority, however, preferred shopping last minute, mostly at multiple stores or online sites.

A total of 67% of American parents shopped for school supplies with their children. It is not surprising, then, that close to 60% of them reported going over their budget. However, an equal percentage of parents seem to be encouraging their kids to reuse as much of their school supplies from last year as possible.

Survey Methodology: This survey was conducted nationwide in the US in the month of September 2019. We received 24,249 responses from parents with school-aged children.

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