DENTON (UNT), Texas — University of North Texas retailing expert Linda Mihalick is available to comment on the back-to-school shopping season, which is now second only to holiday spending. Mihalick can discuss how digital retail is influencing buying trends this year, current consumer behaviors and how customers will take advantage of Texas’ Sales Tax Holiday, which is Aug. 10 – 12 and saves families the tax on most school-related items under $100.
For interviews, contact Monique.Bird@unt.eduor call 940-369-7782.
Quotes from Mihalick:
- A few, high-priced items will generate the most in sales dollars for retailers.College spending is big business – likely accounting for about 60 percent of the total back-to-school revenue for retailers. Much of this comes from high-ticket items, such as dorm and apartment bedding and furniture, computer accessories, laptops and televisions.
- Families spend the most money on clothes.For many families, school clothing and shoes are their biggest categories for spending. This will take up between 55 and 85 percent of total budgets. While always popular, trendy sneakers are having a fashion ‘moment,’ so many shoppers will have this at the top of the shopping list.
- This time of year is busy.Most schools start before Labor Day, so for retailers, the bulk of the spending is happening now – in the first two weeks of August, with the majority wrapping up their shopping by the end of August.
- Retail back-to-school spending will be good.The economy and consumer confidence is strong, so retail spending will likely be at least the same as last year.
- Retailers have to think beyond their brick-and-mortar locations to make sales.Word-of-mouth and digital recommendations from friends, online product reviews and emails from favorite retailers now have a huge role in consumers’ final buying decisions. People have come to trust and value digital product reviews, which save time and money by avoiding incorrect purchases.
- Customers want to save money – and they’ll do their homework digitally.About 40 percent of back-to-school customers will use coupon offers. Roughly 90 percent of actual purchases will still be done in physical stores, but what continues to evolve is the consumer’s use of digital to pre-shop and make retailer decisions. Many customers look at websites, compare prices and collect sale information and coupons before heading to the mall with kids in tow. Easily comparable items such as laptops, computer accessories and dorm room basics are more logical online purchases than children’s apparel and shoes.