As students prepared to head back to class this month, around 65% of consumers are still on the lookout for new clothing and 54% for shoes as they hold out for late deals.

According to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics, consumers had completed an average 51% of shopping for K-12 school supplies and 52% for college supplies – up from 45% in both categories from last year.

Meanwhile, only 17% of school shoppers were completely done, and 21% hadn’t started yet. Around 66% said they planned to wait until two weeks or less before the start of school to make their final purchases.

Consumers cited waiting for the best deals and not knowing what is needed as the top reasons they hadn’t completed their shopping.

“If students aren’t in class already, they will be soon, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve finished buying their supplies or new clothes,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay says. “There’s still more shopping to do, and regardless of timing, the economy is healthy and shoppers are confident and willing to spend.”

NRF expects consumers will spend US$27.5bn on K-12 and $55.3bn on college this year. 

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When searching for the best deals, 51% of back to school parents were influenced by deals and promotions. Specifically, coupons (cited by 37%), in-store promotions (36%) and advertising inserts (29%) influenced consumers to shop at a particular retailer.

When it comes to where consumers will finish their school shopping, 45% will head to discount stores, 49% to department stores, and 34% to clothing stores. Meanwhile, 29% say they will shop online.

Similar to back-to-school shoppers, only 15% of college students and families with children in college were completely done, while 23% were yet to start shopping. 69% of college shoppers planned to wait until two weeks or less before the start of school to make their final purchases.

Around 57% said they still needed to purchase school supplies, followed by apparel (41%).

Coupons were cited as the biggest influencers (38%), followed by in-store promotions (30%), with newspaper inserts and word-of-mouth tied at 24%. They planned to complete their lists at department stores (42%), college bookstores (37%) and online (36%).

“Consumers have been spending steadily throughout the back-to-school season, and taking advantage of events like sales tax holidays that make school supplies more affordable in a number of states,” says Prosper Insights executive vice president of strategy Phil Rist. “Even so, many shoppers are waiting in hope of finding last-minute deals.”