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Monday, January 18, 2021

Survey: Fort Worth shoppers tighten purse strings on school spending

The first day of the 2018-2019 academic year is just around the corner and students across the country are preparing for it. And, so are the parents, whom retailers are trying to pursue as back-to-school shoppers.

This back-to-school shopping season is expected to yield $27.8 billion in spending, nationally. However, Fort Worth shoppers have tightened the purse strings.

According to Deloitte’s 2019 Back-to-School Shopping report, the average Fort Worth shopper expects to spend $517 for back-to-school shopping, a decrease of 7.8% from 2018.

But, that does not mean the local economy’s spending power is slacking, Deloitte Dallas’ principal Kevin Lane told the Business Press.

“We see this is something that is going to normalize in time and we just gonna’ have to keep an eye on it in future data, future surveys,” Lane said. “And we’re going to have to look at additional shopping season, like, the upcoming holiday season, to see if there’s any broader trend in play.”

The National Retail Federation notes back-to-school shopping season as the second-largest shopping season, in terms of average spending, trailing only to the winter holidays.

Fort Worth Independent School District’s first day of school is Monday, August 19.

According to Deloitte’s survey of Dallas-Fort Worth back-to-school shoppers, much of the shopping will already be concluded by early August. Over 72% of the survey responders had planned to shop for school supplies before August.

While, this year, Texas’ back-to-school sales tax holiday will be observed from August 9 to August 11. Retailers will provide sales tax exemption on school supplies during this period.

The Deloitte study found price and product are the main influencing factors for Fort Worth consumers.

Computers and hardware remained Fort Worth shoppers’ highest average spend category.

Whereas shoppers are looking to spend the most, 54% of their budget, on clothing and accessories, the study said. But compared to trends from previous years, expected spending on apparel has taken a dip in 2019.

“Apparel, as a category, seems to be driving the intended spend downward, compared to previous years,” Lane said. “What the consumers, survey responders are telling us is that there’s simply a lesser need, compared to what that need has been, historically. I think, in time, we’ll have more opportunity to determine what is driving that decreased need.”

More consistent with the overall national trend is Fort Worth consumer’s gradual shift towards online shopping.

Although the majority still expects to shop in-store at big-box retailers, online shopping will likely see an uptick this back-to-school season.

Surveyed shoppers said about 28% of the total shopping budget will go towards online shopping, according to the study.

The expected online shopping spending increased 4% from last year. It could grow even more, as 18% responders said they were undecided between in-store or online.

“It’s likely that the most successful retailers of the future are not going to be those retailers that master one channel or that occupy only one channel,” Lane said, “but, those retailers that really successfully inter-operate across both channels. And they have a digital footprint reflective of the experience they want to provide at the store.”


Neetish Basnet
Neetish is a writer and digital content producer for Fort Worth Business Press. He has been covering businesses of all shapes and sizes in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex for several years. After graduating with a journalism degree from University of Texas-Arlington, Dow Jones News Fund selected him for a digital media fellowship. He still likes the smell of a freshly printed newspaper.

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