Citi Retail Services Study Finds Kids Drive Back-to-School Shopping, Making Nearly Half of Decisions

Nationwide Survey Finds Parents Increasingly Leave Purchasing
Decisions to Kids

ATLANTA–(BUSINESS WIRE)–New research commissioned by Citi Retail Services reveals that kids are
driving the Back-to-School shopping season, with parents indicating that
nearly half (47%) of shopping decisions are being left completely up to
their child. Likewise, 70% of parents also say that they have increased
the percentage of purchase decisions they leave completely up to their

The survey of 1,000 U.S. parents of children in grades 1-12 also
shows that when it comes to Generation Z, 84% of parents believe their
child prefers to shop in a physical store, compared to just 16% who feel
they prefer online shopping. This underscores the importance that
retailers should be placing on the in-store experience for this key
shopping moment.

Parents believe the main reasons behind this in-store trend include that
their children enjoy the visit to physical stores (59%), like being able
to try on or test items they want (59%) and prefer to choose custom
types of products, such as color or size (58%).

“As we approach the busy Back-to-School shopping period, retailers
should look to ensure their efforts are not just focused on parents, but
also their children, who are increasingly being handed decision-making
power,” said Leslie McNamara, Managing Director, Business and Market
Development at Citi Retail Services.

“Somewhat surprisingly, parents believe their Generation Z children are
more likely to want to shop in-store for Back-to-School, suggesting that
the ability to physically browse and purchase goods in person is still a
strong attraction for younger shoppers, who are in many cases dictating
purchase decisions,” said McNamara.

Despite the growth of online and mobile shopping, the survey also showed
that more than three in four parents (76%) prefer to do their
Back-to-School shopping in a physical store, in part to spend more time
with their children. This compares to the less than half of parents that
would shop in-store for end-of-year holidays (49%), Mother’s Day or
Father’s Day (42%), or Black Friday (41%), demonstrating the unique
significance of Back-to-School shopping within families.

According to the survey, parents also consider in-store shopping to be
more budget friendly, with 69% more likely to keep to their budget when
they shop primarily in a physical store, compared to less than a third
online (31%). Parents identified some of the key advantages of shopping
in-store for Back-to-School to be the ability to evaluate items in
real-life (65%), the option to receive items immediately (64%), and the
opportunity to spend time with their child (48%).

To encourage more in-store Back-to-School shopping, the study found that
retailers should focus on paying attention to what parents believe will
make them more likely to shop in a physical store next year, such as
offering more in-store rewards or incentives (57%), more hands-on
product displays (53%) and better in-store technology (32%).

“Despite the growth of online and mobile shopping, Back-to-School
shopping remains a unique, in-store focused shopping event for American
families, particularly when compared to other key shopping moments
throughout the year. To take full advantage of the fact that parents and
children are likely to shop in-store for Back-to-School, smart retailers
should focus their efforts on creating an exceptional in-store
experience that appeals to both generations of shopper in order to build
lasting relationships with customers,” said McNamara.

Citi Retail Services delivers consumer and commercial credit card
products, both private label and co-brand, to retailers and their
clients across North America. Backed by the global power of Citi, the
business serves nearly 90 million accounts for a number of iconic
brands, including Best Buy, ExxonMobil, Macy’s, Sears, Shell and The
Home Depot. Citi Retail Services offers cutting-edge digital options,
multi-channel retailing expertise and industry-leading data analytics
capabilities that help retailers from a broad range of industries grow
their businesses.

About the Citi Retail Survey

The Citi Back-to-School survey was conducted by Wakefield Research among
1,000 U.S. parents of children in grades 1-12, between July 8th and July
14th, 2016, using an online survey.

About Citi

Citi [NYSE:C], the leading global bank, has approximately 200 million
customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and
jurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and
institutions with a broad range of financial products and services,
including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking,
securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management.

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Jennifer Bombardier, 718-248-4652
Wallman, 212-277-3757