Fewer US parents to cut back-to-school budget-poll

* Many will use smartphones, social networks to find deals

* Discount chains still No. 1 shopping destination

By Dhanya Skariachan

NEW YORK, July 27 (BestGrowthStock) – Fewer U.S. parents plan to
cut their back-to-school budgets, but they will count on
smartphones and social networking to find the best bargains
during the second biggest shopping season of the year,
according to a Deloitte survey released on Tuesday.

“Retailers may be encouraged that fewer consumers are
planning to pare back this year, although they may find that
shoppers continue to be deliberate in their purchases,” said
Alison Paul, Deloitte’s retail sector leader in the United
States.

In the online survey, 28 percent of 1,050 parents of
school-age children said they were planning to spend more this
year on back-to-school clothing and supplies, while 17 percent
said they would spend less.

The survey showed that among households that expect to
spend more, about 34 percent said their children needed more
expensive items, such as computers, and more than 26 percent
said school budget cuts meant parents needed to pay more for
children’s items.

Back-to-school shopping trails only Christmas for the
amount of money consumers spend in a season.

The survey was conducted between July 9 and 11, and has a
margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

This year, 58 percent of respondents said they would change
the way they shop for back-to-school items by buying more items
on sale or only items family members really needed.

Last year, 70 percent of the respondents said they expected
to change the way they shopped because of the recession, down
from 90 percent in 2008.

“The survey indicates that consumers’ recession-induced
behaviors are beginning to wane as households seek to replenish
certain items and worry less about the economy,” Paul said.

WHERE’S THE SALE?

Twenty-nine percent or 305 of the people surveyed said they
planned to use mobile phones for price information, retailer
advertisements and to find discounts and coupons.

An equal number of people said they would use social
networking sites to find promotions, look at products, and read
reviews and recommendations.

“Consumers are increasingly on the phone, online and
on-the-go,” said Paul, adding that retailers using mobile
applications, text alerts and video content may win an
increased share of shoppers’ back-to-school budgets.

Discount stores were still the No. 1 shopping destination,
with 89 percent of consumers surveyed saying they planned to
shop at discount stores for back-to-school items.

According to the survey, 31 percent of consumers said they
would shop at traditional department stores, up from 26 percent
last year, and 23 percent cited specialty clothing stores, an
increase of six percentage points over 2009.

After two consecutive years as the second most popular
destination, dollar stores dropped to the third most popular
destination behind office supply/technology stores.
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(Reporting by Dhanya Skariachan)

Fewer US parents to cut back-to-school budget-poll