According to two recent research reports, this year’s back-to-school shopping season is seeing two key trends emerging: consumers are making more frequent visits to shopping malls and big box stores, and the back-to-college segment is on track to set record sales.

In one report, location intelligence firm Foursquare looked at where consumers were shopping and found that amid an overall drop in foot traffic, mass market, “big box” retailers are a key destination. By brand, Ross Stores Inc., TJX Cos. and Target Corp. were go-to retailers.

By frequency, though, parents on average are visiting shopping malls about six times during the season which compares to five times at big box stores and four times at department stores. Specialty office supply chains, bookstores and consumer electronics retailers are visited about twice during the season.The firm’s data also confirmed what other analysts have been noting over the past several years: Shoppers who live in suburban areas plan and execute their shopping trips earlier in the season than urban households.

In a separate report by Telsey Advisory Group, analysts at the firm hosted a conference call earlier this week with representatives from the National Retail Federation to discuss results of the organization’s annual bts and back-to-college survey.

As previously reported, this year is set to see higher sales volumes. And driving the boost in year-over-year gains is “a rise in consumer confidence, increase in the workforce, higher wages and the fact that there [are] more young people in school,” TAG analysts said in their report.

The firm also noted that college students and their families are pegged to spend nearly $970 per student this year, which tallies up to be $54.1 billion — a 11.5 percent year-over-year gain and an “all-time high,” TAG said adding that “the increase is being driven by the growing amount of college attendees.”

Apparel is the leading category for the K through grade 12 set, while electronics is number one for college students.

For More Business News From WWD, See:

Generation Z Eyes Physical Stores for B-t-s Shopping

Amazon, Wal-Mart and Apple Top List of Biggest E-commerce Retailers

Consumer Preferences Reshaping Retail Landscape

Fashion 101 for Aspiring Designers: It’s About Selling Emotion

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