Based on the recent consumer shopping trends survey conducted by The SportsOneSource Group, a clear majority of American consumers expect to spend as much or more for sports and outdoor product for back-to-school this year as compared to last year.  The survey for the SportsOneSource 2009 Back-to-School Report was conducted as part of the broader 2009 Where America Shops study that will be released by SportsOneSource in early September.

“We talk with retailers every day about where the market is going,” said James Hartford, president, CEO and chief market analyst at The SportsOneSource Group.  “There is a great deal of angst about expectations for back-to-school due to the rough May and June business, but these numbers may signal some upside for the retailers in the market.”

Based on the preliminary data from the survey, nearly 53% of adult respondents with kids under the age of 18 said they planned to spend as much as last year for sports or outdoor footwear, apparel or equipment during the back-to-school period.  About 19% suggested they would spend at least a little less while roughly 28% of the respondents in this group said they would spend at least a little more. 

Predictably, those at the lower end of the economic spectrum were more likely to say they would spend “a lot less” this year, with more than 9% of parents with household income less than $40,000 indicating they would spend “a lot less” on back-to-school purchases this year.  But in a seemingly counter-intuitive note, the respondents in that household income group were also as likely, or more likely as parents with household incomes between $40,000 and $100,000 to spend “a little more” for back-to-school this year.  Parents with household income under $40,000 a year were more likely to spend “a lot more” than any other household income group except those with household income over $125,000 per year.  

The broader Where America Shops study will assess consumer trends and attitudes regarding their current and planned shopping habits for sports and outdoor footwear, apparel and equipment, but the early numbers for back-to-school were released early to provide the market with some direction as retailers plan for this critical shopping period.

The survey, conducted the week of June 22, 2009, polled 2,112 people aged 13 years of age and older.  The primary qualifier to take the survey was the purchase of sports or outdoor apparel, footwear or equipment over the last 12 months.  The survey has a margin of error of +/- 2.1 percentage points.

The SportsOneSource 2009 Back-to-School Report is available for delivery on July 10, 2009.  This quick-release report can be purchased for $249.  Sports Executive Weekly, The B.O.S.S. Report and SportScanINFO subscribers can receive the report for just $149.  SportScanINFO Retail Reporting Partners may request a complimentary copy.

For more information or to order the report, e-mail Katie Bolick at: with the “BTS Report” in the subject line, or call SportsOneSource at 704.987.3450 x110.