BTS spending to top last year

LOS ANGELES — Nearly half of U.S. shoppers plan to spend more this back-to-school shopping season than in 2011, according to the latest PriceGrabber survey.

Pooling responses from 4,450 U.S. online shopping consumers, with 1,509 of the respondents planning to shop this back-to-school season, 46% said they plan to spend more this year that in 2011, while 35% said they plan to spend the same amount (compared with 52% that expressed this sentiment in 2011) and 19% are looking to spend less this year (compared with 35% in 2011).

When it comes to when consumers plan to begin shopping for back to school, PriceGrabber found that 17% of consumers plan to start their back-to-school shopping in June, 35% plan to start shopping in July, 44% noted August and 3% cited September. Similar to last year, shoppers still plan to spread out their back-to-school purchases in order to distribute the cost over a longer time period. According to PriceGrabber survey data, 55% of consumers plan to spread out their back-to-school purchases this year.

"From last year's holiday shopping season through the middle of 2012, we have seen consumers starting to shop earlier surrounding major shopping seasons and holidays, and we expect this trend to continue this back-to-school shopping season," PriceGrabber general manager Graham Jones said. "While PriceGrabber survey data reveals that many consumers are planning to spend more money this back-to-school shopping season, a few are still hesitant about spending, leading shoppers to search for deals even earlier to take advantage of retailer incentives and discounts, such as free shipping, coupons and sales."