retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Accenture is out with its 2011 Back-To-School Shopping Survey, which indicates that “parents said their top three priorities when choosing a retailer for back-to-school products are: pricing and discounts 91 percent; quality of the products 69 percent; and in-stock products 49 percent. When parents are choosing a retailer this year compared to last year, the importance of product quality did go down slightly while the important of convenience and one-stop shopping went up. Store experiences like customer service and loyalty programs once again ranked low on the list of priorities.”

The survey also suggests that fewer parents will be spending big bucks on electronics for back-to-school, and will be cutting back and focusing more on necessities.

Other key findings include:

• Discount stores will continue to dominate as the destination for the majority of consumers’ back-to-school dollars this year, with office supply stores also remaining strong;

• 89 percent of parents will shop at discount/mass merchandise stores (87 percent in 2010);

• 56 percent at office supply stores (58 percent in 2010);

• 46 percent at department stores (43 percent in 2010);

• 32 percent at drug stores (32 percent in 2010);

• 24 percent at grocery stores (24 percent in 2010);

• 22 percent at online-only retailers(18 percent in 2010);

• 18 percent at electronics stores (24 percent in 2010);

• and 17 percent at specialty stores (20 percent in 2010).

Interestingly, the report says that “half of parents (50 percent) said that they would do ‘none’ of their back-to-school shopping online. Only 4 percent said ‘all’ or ‘most’ of their shopping would be done online.”
KC's View:
No surprise here. Especially after the contretemps in washington over the past few weeks, almost nobody seems to have much confidence in the short-term prospects for the economy. So people are going to be cutting back, trying to be fiscally responsible, when and where they can.

Though I am a little surprised by the online number. Because I work on the premise that Amazon is almost always cheaper than everyone else.