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News release


Retail Tops E-Tail for Back-to-School Shopping

JLL survey reveals majority of shoppers prefer brick-and-mortar stores for clothing and supplies

CHICAGO, Aug. 10, 2015 —  The “dog days” of summer may be upon us, but retailers are stocking shelves in anticipation of the upcoming rush of back-to-school shoppers. While one quarter of shoppers began loading their carts with pens, notebooks and new outfits as early July, the majority (65 percent) will start shopping in the next few weeks, according to JLL’s Back-to-School Survey, which polled more than 2,000 shoppers nationwide. The survey revealed that 88 percent of shoppers will shop at a brick-and-mortar store for either school supplies or clothing, placing minimal online orders for merchandise.  

“Retailers can’t expect to get the customer without creating an experience and providing superior service, but during back-to-school season, it is well-priced and quality goods that drive shoppers. Families armed with lists prefer a ‘one-stop-shop’ to buy everything they need,” says Holly Rome, JLL’s Director of Retail Leasing. 

As a result of this drive for simplicity, JLL’s survey shows shoppers tend to head to department stores and supercenters that boast a wide selection with excellent values. Respondents indicated their top three destinations for back-to-school shopping this year include WalMart, Target and Macy’s, with 90 percent of consumers expecting to spend up to $500 on back-to-school shopping this year.

JLL’s survey revealed that 82 percent of respondents plan to shop at up to five stores for the back-to-school season, and the web plays little part in that plan. More than 90 percent of shoppers noted that when it comes to their wardrobe, they’ll head directly to a major department store, while one third of shoppers indicated that they would not buy back-to-school apparel online this year. Similarly, 45 percent of consumers had no plans to shop online for school supplies; instead 98 percent indicated they plan to visit supercenters for their supply needs.

“The back-to-school season is the second most important time of year for the retail industry, following the holidays. Pricing, value and the availability of discounts will make the difference in retailers’ success this fall,” said Karen Raquet, JLL’s Director of Retail Property Services.

JLL’s survey uncovered the top three reasons particular stores have become the go-to back-to-school destinations:

1. Cha-Ching is King: The number one factor—across income levels—affecting where consumers shop for back-to-school supplies was price; 70 percent of shoppers ranked it as either number one or two in importance, underscoring why supercenters are so popular for back-to-school merchandise. The significance of low prices should come as no surprise, given that consumers have become increasingly price sensitive since the recession, which is especially true when shopping for commoditized necessities.

2. All About Value: Quality was the second most important factor in deciding where to shop, with 46 percent of shoppers ranking it as a one or two. This trend may explain why dollar stores were considerably less popular with shoppers for back-to-school supplies. This ranking was fairly consistent across income levels and even across budgets.

3. Customer Service and Convenience Takes a Back Seat: Normally brick-and-mortar retailers are focused on creating an experience and differentiation with service, but back-to-school shoppers ranked these two factors least important. While still crucial factors for retailers and owners of retail property, during the back-to-school shopping chaos, value trumps service and convenience. 

As far as top selections, shoppers surveyed said they typically choose a particular category of retailer with multiple departments and a variety of goods. “Consumers are making multiple trips to compare prices, return or exchange apparel that doesn’t fit, or pick up merchandise that was not available in a specific store,” added Rome. 

For more information on back-to-school shopping and how the retail industry is faring, please download JLL’s 2015 Back-to-School Survey.

JLL’s retail business serves as an industry leader in retail real estate services. The firm’s more than 800 dedicated retail experts in the Americas partner with investors and occupiers around the globe to support and shape investment and site selection strategies. Its retail specialists provide independent and expert advice to clients, backed by industry-leading research that delivers maximum value throughout the entire lifecycle of an asset or lease. The firm has more than 130 retail brokerage experts spanning more than 30 major markets, representing more than 680 retail clients. As the largest third party retail property manager in the United States, JLL is currently handling the management, leasing and/or disposition of more than 710 centers, totaling 83 million square feet specializing in regional malls, lifestyle centers, grocery-anchored centers, power centers, central business districts, transportation facilities and mixed-use projects.  For more news, videos and research from JLL’s Retail Group, please visit:

About JLL
JLL (NYSE: JLL) is a professional services and investment management firm offering specialized real estate services to clients seeking increased value by owning, occupying and investing in real estate. A Fortune 500 company with annual fee revenue of $4.7 billion and gross revenue of $5.4 billion, JLL has more than 230 corporate offices, operates in 80 countries and has a global workforce of approximately 58,000.  On behalf of its clients, the firm provides management and real estate outsourcing services for a property portfolio of 3.4 billion square feet, or 316 million square meters, and completed $118 billion in sales, acquisitions and finance transactions in 2014. Its investment management business, LaSalle Investment Management, has $56.0 billion of real estate assets under management. JLL is the brand name, and a registered trademark, of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated. For further information, visit