Uneasy consumers plan to spend only 3.9% more on back-to-school items this year versus last year, but some online retailers will capture a bigger share of that spend according to a consumer survey by loyalty and consumer engagement consultancy Brand Keys Inc.
Apple Inc., Staples Inc. and Sears Holdings Corp. moved into the top 10 among online retailers in this year’s survey, after not making the list at all last year. Falling out of the top 10 among online retailers were Kohl’s Corp., the Zappos unit of Amazon.com Inc. and Nike Inc.
Amazon and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. held onto the top two spots in the survey, while Target Corp. slipped one spot to fourth.
Amazon is No. 1 in the 2016 Internet Retailer Top 500, Apple No. 2, Walmart.com No. 4, Staples No. 5, Sears No. 14, Kohl’s No. 19, Target No. 22 and Nike No. 47.
Consumers expect to make 43% of their back-to-school purchases online this year, says Brand Keys founder and president Robert Passikoff. He says the portion of purchases made online during the period before schools reopen has fluctuated around 45% for the last five years, and this year’s result is not significantly different than that of recent years.
But 99% of consumers said they go online as part of their back-to-school shopping trip, Brand Keys says. Mentions of catalogs were down this year, “but that shouldn’t surprise anyone,” Passikoff says. “Consumer purchases have shifted from print to digital and online has, of course, been growing every year and has become consumers’ shopping default mode.”
The average back-to-school shopper plans to spend a total of $675 this year, online and offline, versus $650 last year, Brand Keys says. The survey found nearly three-quarters of consumers feeling uncertain or anxious. The most common reason cited was the upcoming presidential election, noted by 58% of respondents.
Brand Keys surveyed 7,580 households between July 29 and Aug. 12. Brand Keys has conducted this survey annually for 22 years.
Here are the top online destinations for back-to-school shoppers in 2016, with the 2015 ranking in parentheses for retailers that were in the top 10 last year: