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79% of U.S. back-to-school consumers will shop in-stores according to Sensormatic Solutions annual consumer survey

  • Price, product availability and safe store environment remain most important factors when shopping in-store for third year in a row.

Sensormatic Solutions, the leading global retail solutions portfolio of Johnson Controls, today released the results of its 2023 U.S. Back-to-School Consumer Sentiment Survey, which found that customers will continue to prioritize in-store shopping as they prepare for the coming school year. The annual survey found that 79% of consumers plan to conduct their back-to-school shopping in-stores, an increase from 76% in 2022 and 2021.

“It's promising to see that the majority of consumers plan to shop in-stores this back-to-school season,” said Brian Field, global leader of retail consulting and analytics at Sensormatic Solutions. “Retailers who prioritize delivering exceptional experiences, backed by data, can truly capitalize on this highly profitable time of year.”

In addition to highlighting consumers’ preference for in-store shopping, the survey revealed:

  • Consumers’ financial concerns related to the economy are waning, but price remains a significant factor in shopping decisions. Consumers seem less worried about how the current U.S. economy will impact their back-to-school shopping budget than they were last year, with 51% saying their budget will not be impacted or that they plan to spend more this year, a notable increase as compared to 43% in 2022.

    Though consumers were less concerned about spending year-over-year, price (91%) was still the most important factor for consumers planning to shop in-store, followed by product availability (75%) and safety and comfort (44%). The importance of in-store promotions also increased for shoppers, with 30% now saying it would be a factor in their decisions compared to just 24% in 2022 and 16% in 2021.

  • In-store foot traffic is likely to be steady throughout the week. When asked what day of the week they were most likely to do back-to-school shopping, consumers were nearly equally split between weekdays (35%) and weekends (32%). The remaining 33% had no preference. Sensormatic Solutions data shows that the busiest days of the season are likely to occur between July 30 and August 26, based on region.

  • Additional security measures impede customer experience. Half of consumers said they’ve noticed items locked up or behind glass display cases during recent shopping experiences, and a similar percentage (51%) said they would be unlikely to ask for assistance unlocking the item. Over a quarter (27%) of respondents said that, when faced with a locked item, they would look for a more accessible alternative, 17% said they would feel frustrated about the item’s inaccessibility and forgo the purchase, and 7% would look for a different store that has the item more easily accessible. Overall, 20% of shoppers said they are unlikely to purchase a product that is locked up or kept behind a glass display case.

“The fact that 20% of shoppers are unlikely to purchase a product that is locked up highlights why retailers should consider implementing an Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) program,” said Kim Melvin, global director of marketing and communications at Sensormatic Solutions. “By investing in robust EAS solutions, retailers can safeguard their assets, maintain profitability, all while fostering a safe and enjoyable shopping experience.”

To learn more about what to expect for back-to-school and beyond, read the full 2023 U.S. Back-to-School Consumer Sentiment Survey results. For more information about Sensormatic Solutions, visit

About Johnson Controls

At Johnson Controls (NYSE:JCI), we transform the environments where people live, work, learn and play. As the global leader in smart, healthy and sustainable buildings, our mission is to reimagine the performance of buildings to serve people, places and the planet.

Building on a proud history of nearly 140 years of innovation, we deliver the blueprint of the future for industries such as healthcare, schools, data centers, airports, stadiums, manufacturing and beyond through OpenBlue, our comprehensive digital offering.

Today, with a global team of 100,000 experts in more than 150 countries, Johnson Controls offers the world`s largest portfolio of building technology and software as well as service solutions from some of the most trusted names in the industry.

Visit for more information and follow @JohnsonControls on social platforms.

About Sensormatic Solutions

Sensormatic Solutions is the leading global retail solutions portfolio of Johnson Controls powering operational excellence at scale and enabling smart and connected shopper engagement. Our intelligent digital operating platform – Sensormatic IQ – combines the full Sensormatic Solutions portfolio, including third-party data to deliver unmatched insights into shopper experience, inventory intelligence, loss prevention and operational effectiveness with advanced technologies, like AI and Machine Learning. This enables retailers to act on prescriptive and predictive data-driven outcomes to confidently move into the future. Please visit Sensormatic Solutions or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and our YouTube channel.


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