Staples and Moms Back-To-School Study

 

Moms Give Back-To-School Shopping an “A” But, only if the Price is Right

In June 2010, BlogHer Research surveyed over 300 moms 18-49 on the BlogHer publishing network for Staples.  The objective was to determine what motivated moms to make back-to-school purchasing decisions.  Was the economy affecting their behavior?  Were certain items deemed essential?  Are environmentally friendly school supplies considered attractive?  Download the Staples Back-to-School Study here for a closer look.


One of the strongest messages from this survey is that moms don’t mind doing back to school shopping themselves. Even in this economic downturn, and with most moms leading very busy lives, the vast majority of respondents (78%) said they would not give up anything to have someone else do the shopping for them.  In fact, they enjoy doing it for themselves.  At the same time, most moms are surprised that it’s time for back-to-school shopping again. When asked what acronym came to mind when they think about BTS (Back-To-School), the vast majority (55.4%), selected OMG (Oh My Gosh), instead of DMI (16.4%) for Don’t Mention It.

The most resounding reoccurring theme from this survey involves the quest for “the best deal”.  Clearly the economy has most moms watching their wallets, and this is true no matter what their age or income level.  When asked about their back-to-school shopping style, the majority (42%) identified themselves as “Deal Divas”.

And where do moms go to find information about back-to-school shopping deals?  Most (43%) look to their weekly newspaper, but the rest of their choices revealed an interesting hierarchy, showing Blogs ahead of all other options.

“If you had to pick one resource for finding out about back-to-school deals, which would it be?”

Younger moms (25-35) gave an even higher endorsement for blogs (22%), while newspaper ads dropped to 39%.

A significant majority of moms believe in the importance of “green” or environmentally friendly school supplies, but their opinion comes with a price and it better be a low one.  The top two box score for “green” school supplies being “very” or “somewhat” important is a whopping 86%.  However most of that (66%) falls into the (Green is) “somewhat important, if it doesn’t cost more” response bucket.

How will the economy effect back-to-school shopping this year? The #1 response (57%) was “I will look for low prices and sales”.  In the #2 slot, 43% of the respondents said, “I will recycle last year’s items like backpacks”.  It’s clear that the economy is causing cautious shopping habits for Moms, with little indication that they will be likely to spurge.  In fact, a dark side to this savings trend emerged from the study, with almost one quarter (24.4%) of the respondents admitting that they or a spouse have taken office supplies home from work for their children to use at school.  Astonishingly, that number climbed higher for more affluent respondents, with 31% of those in the $75,000+ income bracket admitting they had taken supplies home from the office.

What back-to-school item was considered the most indispensible among the BlogHer moms?  Pragmatism ruled the day, with most (39.7%) selecting the backpack.  Second highest were core supplies like pens and pencils. 

Respondents were given the opportunity to chime in about ways to make the back-to-school shopping experience more enjoyable.  Given the chance to make irreverent choices, most selected the level headed approach. The top two responses to the question “What is the one thing that you believe would make the back-to-school shopping experience better for you this year?” included “lower prices” (33.8%) and to “Do it online with free shipping” (25.2%). Only 11% of the respondents thought “cocktails, before and after” would make the BTS shopping experience more palatable.

BlogHer moms are not yet convinced that an economic recovery is around the corner.  Asked if there was “one item they would buy for their child that shows they are cautiously optimistic about the economy”, a full three quarters (74.5%) said no.  Among the 25% that said yes, an upgraded laptop was the #1 choice (30.3%) followed by the more sensible “durable binders that cost more” (28.9%).  Among older moms (35-49), the laptop choice was considerably more popular, with 49% saying that would be their optimistic economy buy.  Although moms are being cautious in their purchases during the economic recovery, it’s still clear that consumer electronics and high tech gadgets are foremost on the wish list if anything goes.

Finally, we asked moms about their habits with lists.  It turns out these moms are “Listomanics” when it comes to back-to-school shopping.  Asked whether they considered themselves
“Listophobic” (no way!) or Listaholic (bring it on!), an overwhelming majority (93.4%) chose the latter.

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