GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., July 21, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- With the summer in full swing, families are shifting their focus from fireworks and bonfires to shopping for the upcoming school year, according to a recent Meijer customer survey. While most shoppers plan to spend more than they did last year on school supplies, 75 percent are expecting even more shopping trips to buy as much as they can on their back-to-school list before the first day of school.
"Families are starting their back-to-school shopping earlier than ever and seem incredibly focused on taking advantage of deals," said Peter Whitsett, executive vice president of merchandising and marketing for the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer. "We've not only expanded our selection, carrying more than 1,250 items, but we have dropped prices on key school supplies while adding more on-trend items like backpacks, locker decorations, notebooks and apparel."
The Meijer customer survey found approximately 92 percent of households with school-age children plan to spend the same amount or more than last year for back-to–school supplies. Additionally, Meijer learned that families will be sharing the cost of pencils and paper more than ever with 40 percent of students helping with school expenses (up from 33 percent in 2014).
The survey results also revealed that sales, promotions and overall low prices are important when customers plan their shopping trips. Meijer is responding with price drops on more than 300 items now through September, as well as offering nearly 150 items for less than $1. As online, digital and mobile savings have become increasingly important to shoppers, Meijer will offer Back-to-School Bucks available Aug. 14-15 through its mPerks digital savings program, as well as through print coupons.
Once customers sign up at mperks.meijer.com, they can preview and select coupons for their favorite national or Meijer brand products that are then stored in their personal mPerks account until redeemed or they expire. The applicable coupons are then instantly redeemed when shoppers enter in their phone number, which serves as the mPerks account number, at checkout.
Back-To-School Basics Top This Year's Lists
Past popular school purchases, such e-readers, calculators and tablets, are making less frequent appearances on shopping lists and being replaced with classroom basics like pens, pencils, notebooks, paper, crayons and binders. However, they're being purchased in larger quantities to last the entire school year. The basics don't have to feel basic – students are taking it upon themselves to customize everything from notebooks to backpacks to lockers.
According to merchandise buyers and category experts at Meijer, the retailer has increased its offering to help customers stay on top of the trends. These include:
- Beyond the basics: For schools that don't allow students to take backpacks from class to class, zipper binders are more fashionable and practical than ever. For students needing a much more durable, tear- and spill-proof spiral option, poly notebooks are growing in popularity.
- Customization is everything: Students want to stand out and individualize their school supplies, whether it is a backpack, a notebook or their locker. They'll be applying decals, gold foil and using sharpies to customize these basics.
- Practical can be cool: A top trend for 2015 is backpacks with padded backs and a sternum strap. Both make for a more comfortable and safer trip. The padded back allows air to flow, keeping students cool as they carry their books and the sternum strap distributes the weight of the backpack more evenly.
- Licensed products: Once again, students are looking for their favorite characters on their school supplies. Despicable Me (Minions!), Frozen, Rachel Hale, Paw Patrol and John Deere top the list. Star Wars is also expected to be a hot seller with the release of the movie later this summer.
"Our customers are counting on us to provide all their back to school needs at the lowest prices," Whitsett said. "We've worked very hard to be their one-stop shopping destination and we know they will be very pleased with our broad offering and great value."
About Meijer: Meijer is a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer that operates 219 supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin. As a pioneer of the "one-stop shopping" concept, Meijer stores have evolved through the years to include garden centers and electronics offerings. Additional information on Meijer can be found at www.meijer.com. Follow Meijer on Twitter @twitter.com/Meijer and @twitter.com/MeijerPR or become a fan at www.facebook.com/meijer.