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Office Depot leverages BTS survey to drive traffic to stores

Office Depot is leveraging a new back-to-school shopping trend report to drive traffic to its stores this back-to-school season.

The survey, commissioned by Office Depot, reports the manner in which parents and students approach back-to-school shopping, including who in the family has the most influence over purchasing decisions and whether shoppers stick to a provided classroom list or add personalized items to their school supplies.

The survey states that nearly 70% of teens admit their parents have equal or greater influence over which school items they purchase. However, there is a significant shift in who becomes the influencer as teens get older — nearly three-quarters of 13-14 year olds admit their parents have greater say (76% versus 57%) in what they buy, while 16-17 year olds say they have greater influence (43% versus 24%) during the purchasing process.

While teens might have a role in the back-to-school shopping trip, parents also look to recommended supplies from their child’s school or teacher. When parents are in charge of the shopping, a majority (73%) — according to the Office Depot Personal Shopper Index, June 2014 — state they stick to the list provided by the school or teacher, whereas the remainder mix it up with input from their child or go beyond the list and purchase items based on what they believe their child would like.

“Back-to-school shopping is an equally important experience for parents and students since they often look to secure the right mix of core essentials and supplies that allow the individual to express their personality,” said Ron Lalla, EVP of merchandising for Office Depot. “From the latest tech and designer school supplies to the top brands for kids and teens, including over 1,000 items $5 or less, Office Depot and OfficeMax help shoppers find what they need, in the style they want, at a price they’ll love so students go back to school with the tools to succeed and the confidence to express their personal style.”

Whether through new clothes, haircuts or supplies, the start of school gives students the opportunity to make a statement and show off their personal style, but where and how they find inspiration has recently evolved, adding additional influences to the mix — teens and social media. The survey found that teens got inspiration from retail stores (61%), advertisements or articles (59%) and parents (58%); but more than a quarter of trend-setter teens (27%) have discovered products they would consider purchasing from other students, and almost as many (22%) have done the same using social media, such as Facebook or Twitter.

The survey found that nearly twice as many teens reported that they see themselves as an influencer (40%) or someone who others follow, rather than one of the influenced (24%); 84% veer off of their school’s supply list and add to it by selecting trendier options in addition to basic supplies when shopping for back-to-school items and more than half (54%) prefer trendy or customizable items to simple items because it allows them to make a bold statement about their personality.

Office Depot conducts a monthly benchmark study to gauge the mood of small and medium-size businesses (SMB) and personal shoppers. An online survey was administered among a nationally representative sample of small and medium-sized businesses and personal shoppers between June 6, 2014 to June 26, 2014 among a total of 1,503 small and medium-size businesses with 1-99 employees and personal shoppers.

Interviews were conducted by Kelton Global via an email invitation and an online survey among a nationally representative sample of teens. The survey was conducted between July 8, 2014 and July 16, 2014 among a total of 1,007 teens ages 13-17