Imperial, California - Consumers are off to a slower than usual start this back-to-school season, according to a recent NPD survey. The study found that the majority of consumers are planning to start their apparel shopping much later in the traditional June through August back-to-school shopping season, with many stating they plan to finish their shopping after school starts.

A Later Start

In terms of when consumers plan to begin their back-to-school apparel shopping this year, August was the clear winner at 54 percent of respondents. August, traditionally considered the end of the back-to-school shopping season, had almost double the shopping starts of July, and more than five times the responses of June.

Post-Season Finish

Fifty-five percent of respondents said they plan to finish their back-to-school shopping in August, making it the peak month for retailers targeting these consumers. September, a month which isn’t usually viewed by retailers as part of the back-to-school season, is the second biggest month cited by consumers for finishing the season’s shopping (19 percent). 

“Today, more than ever before, consumers are focusing their shopping on what items they need at a particular moment, rather than what they may need a couple months down the road. The back-to-school season is a very relevant example of this spending shift,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group, Inc. “When so many consumers are planning to do their back-to-school shopping in the months not traditionally considered part of the season by retailers, it’s time to break with tradition and change the way we market and measure this shopping season.”