Technology Rules for This Back to School Season

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Technology is set to be the biggest driver of consumer spending this back to school season. According to the Consumer Technology Association, they reported that almost three of every five back to school shoppers plan on spending their budget on some sort of technology item. These technology items include tech items such as smartphones, tablets, a computer, a calculator, memory drive or headphones. This figure of 59% of consumers has increased by 12% in comparison to last year. Consumers in general plan to spend $18.5 billion on technology items for back to school, which is up 6.5% from last year.

“This growth in tech spend is a reflection of tech becoming a frequently used medium for learning and commonplace in schools across the country,” Janvier Depeazer, senior research analyst for CTA toldMarketing Daily. “At this point, tech is being used for teaching all different ages, and for many older students, it’s becoming a required need for success in high school and college.”

The most popular items consumers are looking to purchase within the coming weeks include portable memory sticks (71%), basic calculators (55%), headphones (52%), laptops (44%) and carrying or protective cases (48%).

“Compared to last year, the top anticipated back to school tech purchase remained the same as portable memory, and the top five tech items remain the same but the order differs,” said Depeazer.

Almost all (95%) of BTS shoppers plan on visiting physical stores to make these purchases, with 88% plan on going to mass retailers, 56% to office supply stores, and 47% to department stores. However, only 36% plan on visiting a technology store.

“Generally, a tech purchase decision that involves more research may result in an in-store purchase after a chance to interact/demo with the product and ask questions to the salespeople,” said Depeazer.

Although tech solicits a more in-store approach, almost half (49%) will also go to online retailers, including online-only retailers (80%), retailer websites (69%) and auction websites (35%).

Most back to school shopping will take place this month, with 60% of consumers planning on hitting the stores. A large majority will begin shopping either one-month before class starts (41%) or one to four weeks before class starts (40%).

“Early back to school promotions are building interest and momentum for the second-largest shopping event of every year,” said Steve Koenig, senior director of market research at CTA. “Deals on the tech items for back to school including 2-1 laptops, Bluetooth speakers, headphones, tablets and more are creating excitement among consumers. This consumer enthusiasm also bodes well for tech sales across the second half of the year.”

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