Taking Tech to Class: 59% of U.S. Back-to-School Shoppers Plan to Buy Tech, Says CTA Research

ARLINGTON, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Fifty-nine percent of Americans who have done or plan to do
back-to-school shopping this year (37 percent) expect to buy tech or
tech accessories – an increase of 12 percentage points over last year,
according to research released today from the Consumer Technology
Association’s (CTA)™. The Role of Consumer Tech in Back-to-School
study finds an estimated $18.5 billion have or will be
spent this year on back-to-school tech products/accessories in 2016 – a
6.2 percent increase over last year.

The top ten back-to-school tech products consumers plan to buy this year



Portable memory (71 percent)




Laptop (44 percent)


Basic calculator (55 percent)


Software for computer (39 percent)


Headphones (52 percent)


External hard drive (23 percent)


Scientific/graphing calculator (51 percent)


Tablet (22 percent)


Carrying or protective case (48 percent)


Product subscription service (22 percent)

“Early back-to-school promotions are building interest and momentum for
the second-largest shopping event of the year,” said Steve Koenig,
senior director of market research, CTA. “Deals on the tech items for
back-to-school including 2-1 laptops, Bluetooth speakers, headphones,
tablets and more are creating excitement among consumers. This consumer
enthusiasm also bodes well for tech sales across the second half of the

Almost all back-to-school shoppers (95 percent) plan to visit physical
stores to complete their shopping. Of those, consumers plan to visit:

  • Mass merchant store (88 percent)
  • Office supply store (56 percent)
  • Department store (47 percent)
  • Discount or thrift store (43 percent)
  • Consumer tech store (36 percent)

Additionally, half of back-to-school shoppers (49 percent) plan to shop
at an online retailer, including:

  • Online-only retailer’s website (80 percent)
  • Retailer’s website (69 percent)
  • Auction website (35 percent)
  • Manufacturer’s website (30 percent)
  • Free classified ad website (13 percent)

Most back-to school shopping takes place in the month of August (60
percent), and a large majority of consumers will begin back-to-school
shopping either one month before school starts (41 percent) or one to
four weeks before school starts (40 percent).

Overall, adoption of the Internet of Things and enthusiasm for emerging
tech will drive the U.S. consumer technology industry to $286.6 billion
in retail revenues in 2016, according to CTA’s U.S.
Consumer Technology Sales and Forecasts
, a semi-annual
report that forecasts 300+ product categories including back-to-school
staples such as 2-in-1 laptops, tablets, smartphones, headphones,
Bluetooth speakers and more.

The Role of Consumer Tech in Back-to-School Shopping was designed
and formulated by CTA, the most comprehensive source of sales data,
forecasts, consumer research and historical trends for the consumer
technology industry. The report will be available at CTA.tech/research.

About Consumer Technology Association:

Consumer Technology Association (CTA)TM is the trade
association representing the $287 billion U.S. consumer technology
industry. More than 2,200 companies – 80 percent are small businesses
and startups; others are among the world’s best known brands – enjoy the
benefits of CTA membership including policy advocacy, market research,
technical education, industry promotion, standards development and the
fostering of business and strategic relationships. The Consumer
Technology Association also owns and produces CES® – the
world’s gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer
technologies. Profits from CES are reinvested into CTA’s industry


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Consumer Technology Association (CTA)
Danielle Cassagnol
Suiters, 703-907-7654