CHICAGO, IL (July 21, 2016)Retale (, a location-based mobile advertising platform for retailers and brands, today announced the results of its third annual “Back-to-School Mobile Shopper Report,” a commissioned survey examining the shopping behavior of parents for the 2016 back-to-school season.  The study, fielded between July 11-15, 2016, focused specifically on the use of smartphones while shopping, polling 1,000 parents with school-aged children grades K-12.

85% Using Smartphone to Help Them Shop

When asked whether or not they would use a smartphone to help them as they shopped for back-to-school items, 85% said “yes” while just 15% said “no.” In Retale’s 2015 Back-to-School Mobile Shopper Report, 78% of parents said they would use smartphones to help shop during back-to-school season.

“The use of mobile to help with back-to-school shopping has risen nearly 10 percentage points year-over-year, according to our data,” said Pat Dermody, President of Retale. “It’s clear that the omnichannel customer journey continues to define the way most people approach their purchases, and people continue to discover the advantages of leveraging mobile in their shopping.”

Among the 85% of parents who use smartphones to help shop for items, the most common mobile shopping activities are: comparing prices (65%), searching for coupons/deals (62%), creating shopping lists (53%), checking store hours (52%), researching products (49%), accessing saved coupons (48%), finding nearby store locations (48%), checking product reviews (43%), and buying directly from the device (42%). Buying directly from their device increased five percentage points from 2015 (37%) – the biggest jump among preferred mobile activities.

Almost half of the respondents (46%) said they performed these activities on their mobile devices both in and out-of-store, which was up eight percentage points from Retale’s 2015 report (38%). On average, 20% of parents surveyed said that they do these mobile activities only in the physical store, while 34% of respondents said they perform these activities outside of the store.

Nearly 90% Pick Where to Shop Based on Mobile Promotions

The overwhelming majority of parents – 89% of those surveyed, identical to 2015’s study – said they select retailers to shop from based on the availability of coupons and deals via smartphones or tablets.

“Smartphones are the go-to shopping tool for parents to research, plan and organize their back-to-school purchases,” says Dermody. “Retailers need to keep up with mobile’s rise in consumer shopping behavior, incorporating relevant and engaging mobile content to drive visits and purchases. If they don’t, parents will simply shop elsewhere.”

When asked which form of advertising most influences them to shop at a particular store or website, the top-five responses were: deal/coupon apps and websites (32%), television (18%), social media (12%), in-store signage (9%) and newspapers (8%). Digital videos (5%), banner ads (4%) and magazines (4%) rounded out the least chosen of the available responses.

“Shoppers are largely motivated by discounts and savings,” said Dermody. “This is why deal and coupon platforms performed so well. Saving money is a powerful incentive for shoppers, and many of the newest shopping apps tailor their deals to the user’s preferences. When customers are exposed to ads that reflect their interests and also save them money, they’re much more likely to engage.”

80% Say at least 70% of Purchases Will Happen In-Store

When asked to select what percentage of their back-to-school shopping this year would be done in-store, 80% of parents surveyed said they plan to make at least 70% of these purchases in-store – down only two percentage points (82%) from 2015. 15% of respondents said the percentage ranged from 50% to 70%, and only 5% chose “less than 50%.”

“Certain annual events continue to hold strong for brick-and-mortar businesses, and back-to-school is no exception,” said Dermody. “The yearly trip to stores for school supplies is a ritual that hasn’t slowed in the face of e-commerce. Instead, mobile has been more seamlessly integrated into the in-store shopper’s journey.”

43% Likely to Spend $100-300 on Back-to-School Shopping 

When asked how much they would likely spend on back-to-school shopping, regardless of where the purchases occur (in-store or online), the top-five answers were: $100-200 (22%), $200-300 (21%), $300-400 and “Under $100” (tied at 12%), $400-$500 (11%), and $500-600 (6%).

36% of parents said they planned to begin their back-to-school shopping “one month before school starts,” 29% said “a couple of weeks before school starts,” 22% said “at least two months before school starts,” 7% said the week before school starts, and 3% said once school has begun.

To read the full Retale Back-to-School Mobile Shopper Report, visit:

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