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BTS/BTC shoppers taking longer finish lists

Washington- Back-to-school and back-to-college shoppers may have gotten an earlier start tackling their lists this year than in the past, but they are far from done, the National Retail Federation discovered.

As of Aug. 7, they still had more than half of their shopping to complete, according to NRF's 2012 Back-to-School and College Surveys conducted by BigInsight.

The average person with children in grades K-12 has completed 40.1% of their shopping, while college shoppers and their families have completed only slightly more, at 45.3%.

Overall, school and college shoppers this year are expected to spend a total of $83.8 billion.

"Given how much of an impact the economy is having on consumers' buying decisions, retailers will remain competitive up through the final sale after Labor Day, rolling out web, in-store and even mobile promotions to entice children and their parents," said Matthew Shay, NRF president and ceo.

The survey found that more college students and their families have already finished their shopping (16.4%), than school shoppers (7.8%). Additionally, there are fewer school and college shoppers who say they have not started their shopping yet (28.5% versus 31.1% of college shoppers last year, and 26.9% compared to 28.3% of K-12 shoppers last year.)

To wrap up their shopping lists, school and college shoppers will continue to look for bargains as they comparison shop in stores and online. College students and their families will head to discount (47.6%), department (41.1%) and clothing stores (30.1%). More than one-third (34.6%) of college shoppers will do the remainder of their shopping online.

The survey found debit/check cards are the preferred payment method this summer for 39.4% of college students and their families. College shoppers are more likely to use their credit cards (29.4%) over cash (26.7%).

"With eight in 10 Americans saying the economy will impact their school and college spending plans, it's no surprise promotions and coupons are popular with families this summer," NRF noted.

Two in five college shoppers (38.6%) said at least half of their purchases were influenced by sales and promotions, up from 34.2% last year.

When it comes to technology, 68.9% of college students and their parents shop using tablets and 51.6% of those who own smart phones plan to use them for shopping.

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