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BTS shopping budgets drop, Internet remains go-to source for deals

LOS ANGELES — Back-to-school budgets will moderately decrease this year, but more consumers will turn to the Internet to score the best deals.

According to a survey conducted by PriceGrabber, 48% of shoppers said they plan to spend $250 or more on back-to-school purchases, while 25% will spend $500 or more. This compared with 2010, when 56% of consumers indicated that they would spend $250 or more, while 31% planned to spend $500 or more.

As shoppers have reported they would scale back, many of them will look to the Internet for the best deals: 69% of survey respondents plan to shop online and use comparison shopping sites, while 41% will visit retailer websites to print out coupons.

"The modest but meaningful decrease in BTS shopping budgets this year demonstrates the lasting impact the recession is having on consumers' mindsets," stated Graham Jones, general manager of PriceGrabber. "As consumers adjust to the new economic reality, they become smarter about their purchases over time. Given the Internet's unrivaled ability to save shoppers time and money, it comes as no surprise to us that more consumers are flocking to online shopping and comparison shopping sites in 2011 to keep their budgets low and find the best discounts."

Among the top items on the back-to-school shopping lists include classic school supplies, such as binders and pencils (79%); clothing (75%); new backpacks or tote bags (47%); and books (44%).

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