Melissa Bastos: July 12, 2017

What to Look for This Back-to-School Season

Cotton Incorporated Releases Its Lifestyle Monitor Survey 

Melissa Bastos

Director, Market Research in the Corporate Strategy and Program Metrics Department of Cotton Incorporated


While we are all enjoying the beautiful summer weather, shoppers and retail outlets are already preparing for back-to-school shopping. For more than 20 years, the Cotton Incorporated Lifestyle Monitor™ Survey has kept its finger on the pulse of consumer behavior and preferences. The vast quantity of retailers and products can be overwhelming for shoppers. Do you want to know how your back-to-school shopping plans compare with the rest of the country? Join us to find out.

Did you know?

       While new shoes (87%) and school supplies (86%) are high on back-to-school (BTS) shoppers’ lists, clothing is at the top with 91% planning to buy.

       Back-to-school shoppers say more than two-thirds (68%) of their clothes will be bought before the first day of school, with the remainder being purchased a few weeks (18%) and a month or two (14%) after the first day of school. About a third of shoppers say they will wait to buy the majority of clothing because better sales may come after the school year has begun.

       Those shopping for BTS clothes say they plan to spend about $267 per person this year, which is fairly flat from 2016 ($266) and 2015 ($265).

       Most (73%) back-to-school clothing shoppers plan to buy in the physical store, however, there has been a directional increase in those planning to buy online (27%, up from 22% in 2016).

       The clothing categories the majority of shoppers plan to purchase for back to school this year are tops/shirts (87%), pants (81%, up significantly from 68% in 2016), socks (76%), and jeans (72%).  Most parents say they prefer these products be made of cotton, and more than 4 in 5 (81%) say they prefer their children to be dressed in cotton.

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More About Melissa Bastos:

Melissa Bastos serves as the Director, Market Research in the Corporate Strategy and Program Metrics Department of Cotton Incorporated. In her role, Melissa is responsible for the consumer attitudinal and consumption studies as well as retail assessments conducted in the US, China, Latin America, and India, including the Cotton Incorporated Lifestyle Monitor™ and Retail Monitor™ research. For more than 15 years Melissa has researched and presented on consumer and retail behavior in over 18 countries.

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