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Back-to-Tech: 63% of U.S. Back-to-School Shoppers Plan to Buy Tech, Says CTA

July 27, 2017

Smartphones join the top 10 list of planned tech purchases

Arlington, VA, July 27, 2017 - Sixty-three percent of Americans who have done or plan to do back-to-school shopping this year expect to buy tech or tech accessories - an increase of four percentage points over last year, according to research released today from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). The Role of Consumer Tech in Back-to-School Shopping, 3rd Edition study finds an estimated $19.9 billion have been or will be spent this year on back-to-school tech products/accessories in 2017 - a 7.62 percent increase over last year.

The top ten back-to-school tech products consumers plan to buy this year are:
"Tech is increasingly playing a role in education and not only do more consumers plan to buy tech for back-to-school, they also plan to spend more on tech purchases during one of the largest shopping seasons of the year," said Steve Koenig, senior director of market research, CTA. "Among the planned tech purchases for back-to-school, 6 in 10 are accessories for devices, illustrating a near-ubiquitous attachment rate for accessories with back-to-school computing products."
Among back-to-school shoppers, 88 percent plan to shop at a physical mass-merchant store and 56 percent plant to shop at a physical office supply store - both, respectively, at the same level as last year. In 2017, almost half of back-to-school shoppers (44 percent) plan to shop at an online retailer, including:

Online-only retailer's website (84 percent)
Retailer's website (66 percent)
Auction website (40 percent)
Manufacturer's website (35 percent)
Free classified ad website (25 percent)

The percentage of consumers conducting online research before making back-to-school purchases is increasing, reaching net 81 percent this year, up from 75 percent in 2016. Top research activities include:
Compare prices online (68 percent) - up 13 percentage points over last year
Conduct internet searches (60 percent) - up eight percentage points over last year
Visit retailer websites (57 percent)
Read online reviews/comments about products/retailers (49 percent) - up 10 percentage points over last year
Review coupons sent through email (41 percent)
The Role of Consumer Tech in Back-to-School Shopping, 3rd Edition was designed and formulated by CTA, the most comprehensive source of sales data, forecasts, consumer research and historical trends for the consumer technology industry.The study represents the findings of a quantitative study administered via telephone interview June 8-11, 2017 to a random national sample of 1,007 U.S. adults (ages 18 or older). The report is available at


About Consumer Technology Association:

Consumer Technology Association (CTA)TM is the trade association representing the $321 billion U.S. consumer technology industry, which supports more than 15 million U.S. jobs. More than 2,200 companies - 80 percent are small businesses and startups; others are among the world's best known brands - enjoy the benefits of CTA membership including policy advocacy, market research, technical education, industry promotion, standards development and the fostering of business and strategic relationships. CTA also owns and produces CES® - the world's gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer technologies. Profits from CES are reinvested into CTA's industry services.