Back to school shopping patterns for 2006

74% of parents are expected to rely on the convenience and flexibility of payment cards for back-to-school shopping, according to MasterCard Worldwide survey. 58% of parents of US students college age or younger plan to use debit cards for back-to-school purchases, increasing from 26% in 2005. Parents of US students college age and younger expect to spend, on average, $424 this year on back-to-school items. 16% anticipate 2006 back-to-school expenses for books, clothes, and supplies to exceed $500. 75% of parents anticipate spending the same amount (40%) or more (35%) in 2006 as compared to last. 80% of parents said their child or children will accompany them on shopping trips for back-to-school items. 9% of parents said they will go alone, while 11% of parents said their children will do the shopping alone.

Clothing is by far the most popular item on back-to-school shopping lists. Two-thirds (64%) claimed that clothing will be their highest expense, followed by books (13%) and supplies (9%). Understandably, the most sought-after shopping destinations for parents are discount stores, with more than 86% planning to purchase back-to-school items from a discounter. Consumers will also head to office supply stores (46%), department stores (38%), specialty and apparel retailers (20%), and drug stores (16%).