Back-To-School Spending Slows As Shoppers Seek Bargains Online - InformationWeek

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8/22/2008
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Back-To-School Spending Slows As Shoppers Seek Bargains Online

38% of consumers surveyed said they plan to use price-comparison Web sites to find the best deals.

Forty-one percent of online shoppers with school-age children plan to cut back on spending this fall because of worries about a weakened economy, according to a recent survey.

PriceGrabber.com released its August Consumer Behavior Report -- Back To School Trends (PDF) -- this week. The survey of 1,802 online shoppers buying goods and supplies for schoolchildren found that many are looking for deals and ways to cut back.

The majority said they plan to shop at discount, bargain, or outlet stores (51%). Thirty-eight percent said they plan to use Web sites that promote price comparisons. Twenty-seven percent said they plan to visit retailers' Web sites to print out coupons.

Twenty-five percent of the shoppers surveyed said they would control spending by deciding on a budget and sticking to it, while another 23% said they would use lists to control impulse buying.

Most of parents' back-to-school funds will go toward clothes (57%), according to the survey. Nineteen percent of respondents said they would spend the most money on electronics and computer-related equipment. Eighteen percent of the parents surveyed said that the bulk of their money would go toward traditional school supplies, like notebooks and pens.

PriceGrabber also reported a dip in prices for most tech products, including notebooks, desktops, printers, and flash memory.

According to the shopping site, notebooks have dropped about 15% since last year, while desktop computers have decreased in price by 5% on average. Flash memory has dropped by about 46%, while printer prices have dipped 10%, according to the report. Prices on cell phones and smartphones have not dropped, according to the report.

PriceGrabber conducted the survey from July 24 through Aug. 7. It queried those shopping for students from elementary school through college.

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