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Minnesotans more conservative in back-to-school shopping

August 3, 2018

Deloitte’s annual back to school shopping survey is out, and as in years past, it shows that Minnesotans will spend less than the national average for K-12 students.

We’ll also start shopping later, but that’s not a surprise because school starts later here.

The average Minnesotan will spend $398 this year compared with $510 on average for the nation.

“Minnesota spends a little less, starts a little later, is a little more conservative and is a little more store-based” in the shopping, said Matt Marsh, Deloitte’s retail industry leader in Minneapolis.

The data also gives further evidence to overall retail trends.

“Globally, digital is becoming a complementary channel to the physical store,” Marsh said. More customers are either researching or ordering online and then picking up or making returns in stores.

The survey showed that, on average, Minnesotans will spend $254, or 64 percent of their back to school spend, in physical stores and $83 online. But half also said they would research deals either on their computers or mobile phones.

“Across the board, digital continues to grow,” Marsh said. “Traditional retailers are investing heavily in that channel to meet consumer expectations. I think that is what the data is showing.”

Also, more consumers will shop at mass merchant stores like Target or online than at traditional department stores.

Another difference in Minnesota vs. the nation is how much people spend on technology. Only 12 percent of those surveyed plan to buy electronics such as cellphones, tablets or wearable devices.

This could mean a few things. It could mean more Minnesotans are early adapters and buy technology when it’s introduced instead of seasonally.

But Marsh suspects it could have something to do with the state’s investment in education.

“Minnesota as a culture, we invest a lot in education,” he said, so more students than in other states may either be given or have access to laptops or tablets.

Catherine Roberts • 612-673-4292

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