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Tech Moves Up for Back-to-School

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SAN FRANCISCO The back-to-school shopping season is going to see some technology-related shifts in consumer habits, according to a study by Brand Keys.

Average spending for computers is expected to jump 10 percent compared to last year, while spending on clothes will only increase 2 percent, according to the poll.

Also, shoppers will use online retailers 40 percent more often than last year, while they will use bricks-and-mortar discount stores 7 percent less than they did in 2006, per the study by Brand Keys, a New York market research consultancy. Department store and catalog shopping will be unscathed by the migration to online retailers, with back-to-school customers planning to use department stores 20 percent more often and catalogs 15 percent more often than last year.

Many households use more than a single type of retailer for their school shopping, with the three most common outlets being discount, department and office supply stores, per the study. Online outlets have risen to the number five spot, after specialty stores.

This year customers will spend an average of $265 on clothes and $230 on computers, according to the study, compared with $115 for shoes and only $25 on books.

"It appears that spending is going to approach $18 billion during this year's back-to-school season, an estimated increase of 7 percent," said Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys.

The July 2007 survey was compiled from 7,500 households across the United States with school-age children.