Back-to-School Saturday. It’s the new Black Friday for the teen crowd. TeenVogue has been touting Aug. 11 as the be-all, end-all back-to-school shopping day. Many retailers have climbed aboard the shopping express offering all kinds of deals to shoppers from f30 percent off and a pair of free sunglasses with an Aeropostale purchase to a free pretzel at Auntie Anne’s. Social media is doing its thing creating buzz about the day. On Twitter, teens and marketers are lighting up the hashtag #btss with deals and excitement anticipating the day.
It may seem like the back-to-school shopping push is encroaching into summer just like Christmas lights appear in the store aisles right after Halloween. However, it makes sense considering the results of ShopAtHome.com’s recent back-to-school Buy-havior Report. ShopAtHome.com is the largest coupon search engine that connects upwards of 12 million consumers each month to the best deals and cash back savings. They found that the majority of consumers are being budget-smart about back-to-school shopping. Not only are they seeking out the best prices, but they’re also shopping early – 48 percent of shoppers polled said they were beginning their shopping a month before the first bell rings.
The focus on shopping at retailers known for their low price points continues a trend that began last year. In August of 2011, Walmart, Target, Sears, Kohl’s and jcpenney were among the top retailers for ShopAtHome.com shoppers. With 60 percent of poll respondents reporting that they plan to hit bargain stores this year, the trend is expected to carry through this season as well.
“Students aren’t the only ones who have learned a thing or two in the past year. Consumers are getting smarter not only about what they spend their money on, but how they spend it,” said Marc Braunstein, co-founder and CEO of ShopAtHome.com. “People have learned that, by shopping intelligently, it is possible to spend less without really cutting back.”
Brand name retailers are getting in on the act by offering deals that are good at all participating stores and as well as some online merchants. Malls all across the country will be participating in Back-to-School Saturday event along with Minnesota’s Eden Prairie Center. Live music, a fashion show, beauty demos, food samples, and more will be a part of the Eden Prairie Center event.
Here are some other deals that may help ease the hit wallets take during back-to-school shopping:
• Head to OfficeMax and Old Navy this August to coordinate your school supplies and your wardrobe. From Aug. 2 through Aug. 15, OfficeMax back-to-school customers will receive a register receipt coupon for $10 off a $50 purchase1 at Old Navy stores nationwide. The coupon can be redeemed at Old Navy stores Aug. 2 through Aug. 22. Additionally, shoppers loading up on back-to-school fashion at Old Navy will receive a coupon at checkout good for $10 off a $40 purchase at OfficeMax stores nationwide or online at officemax.com through Sept. 30.
Throughout the season OfficeMax is offering 25-cent, 50-cent and $1 value deals on a variety of supplies that appear on many school shopping lists, including markers, composition books, glue, scissors and more.
• Sears customers can shop to stop bullying on Sears’ “Super Back-to-School Saturday” Aug. 11. Customers can download a one-day-only savings pass online at sears.com/TeamUp for 15 percent off on in-store purchases of apparel, footwear and fine jewelry. Sears will donate five percent of in-store purchases using the savings pass (up to $70,000) to its non-profit anti-bullying coalition of partners.
• Staples will be promoting its Back to School Savings Pass. The pass costs $10 and it offers 15 percent off school supplies. Also look for Staples’ “Back to School Extreme Deals” where you’ll find school supplies like note cards, notebooks, erasers, and filler paper at up to 90 percent off.
• Since JCPenney has rethought its “Fair and Square” low prices all the time strategy, they are offering clearances on back-to-school items also including 50 percent off Arizona Jean Co. tank tops and Juniors Arizona Colored Skinny Jeans for only $17. Backpacks are on sale for $10 to $15 in a variety of styles. They are also offering free kids haircuts promotion for the month of August for children up to 6th grade.
• The website www.offers.com tracks back-to-school deals on everything from clothing to school supplies to shoe sales.
A further look at the trends
An analysis of the Buy-havior Report shows the following:
Bucking the trend. While most are focused on getting the best deals, 38 percent of consumers plan to spend more money this year.
Dressing to impress. Shoppers estimate they will spend approximately $331 on clothing, accessories and shoes this school year.
Doing their homework. 76 percent of consumers plan to shop the sales more often to help curb back-to-school spending. 53 percent plan to use more coupons.
It’s not always about the brands. 42 percent of shoppers are ignoring brand name items in favor of their less-costly generic counterparts.
Procrastination. Homework isn’t the only thing people procrastinate about. The report shows 7 percent of shoppers don’t plan on starting their shopping until the first day of school.