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NPD Annual Back-to-School Spending Intentions Report

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Consumers Evolving Consumption Behavior Influences Intentions

Port Washington, NY, July 18, 2011The NPD Group, Inc., a leading market research company, released the results of its annual back-to-school study of consumers' purchasing intentions for the 2011 season. Overall consumers say they plan to spend about the same as last year but will start their shopping a little later this year.


Back To School Spending Intentions  2011 2010
Plan to Spend Less?  38% 38%
Plan to Spend the Same? 40% 40%
Plan to Spend More?  22% 22%
Source: The NPD Group, Inc.



When do you plan to start your back-to-school shopping? 2011 2010
By Aug. 1st 35% 38%
By Sept. 1st 60% 57%
after Sept. 1st 5% 5%
Source: The NPD Group, Inc.


"The consumer is holding on, but it is an indication that consumers remain cautious about their spending," said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group, Inc.

Even as consumers continue to delay the start of their shopping, they still plan to buy some of the traditional back-to-school categories, with school supplies still topping most shopping lists.


Category Spending
In Dollar Order
2011 2010
School Supplies 77% 74%
Apparel 58% 58%
Footwear 45% 45%
School Bags 30% 29%
Electronics* 27% 30%
Apparel Accessories 17% 16%
Beauty Products 13% 11%
Bedding 10% 9%
Calculators 8% 7%
Small Appliances 5% 5%
*Electronics includes: TV's, DVD players, personal computers, laptops, PDA's, printers, cell phones, MP3 Players & digital cameras
Source: The NPD Group, Inc.


What is it that will motivate consumers to purchase for back-to-school this year? The top reason cited again this year is 'value.'


What are your reasons for deciding which
back-to-school items to purchase?
2011 2010
Value 82% 79%
Required 45% 45%
Replacement 30% 32%
Child Wanted It 22% 21%
Trendy/Fashionable 12% 11%
Influenced By Friends 2% 2%
Source: The NPD Group, Inc.


"Here we have a clear sign that 'trendy and fashionable' or 'influenced by friends' is shrinking and 'value' is gaining momentum," said Cohen, "And just when you think that 'value' can't get any more important, consumers tell us that value is what they are looking for. What's more, their idea of what 'value' is continues to evolve. Today's consumer value equation is the combination of price, quality, and name brands they trust."

"While the differences in the numbers aren't all that dramatic there are dramatic indications of changes in consumption patterns," stated Cohen, "The study's results clearly point out that consumers will be shopping later, looking for value, and searching out lower priced options."

Methodology: The results of this study were based on a poll of 12,000 members of The NPD Group, Inc.'s consumer panel. The survey was administered from July 1st to July 13th, 2011.


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The NPD Group, Inc.
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Port Washington, NY 11050

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