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Back-To-School: The New Holiday?

School Season Shopping Fever


Over the years it seems as though the Back-to-School movement has turned into a Holiday. Perhaps more of a Holiday for the parents than the kids, but a Holiday-like season nonetheless.

While school may have just recently wrapped up, but it’s never too soon to start planning for your Back-To-School merchandise for the upcoming season. In fact, just like the Holiday season, these too feels like it’s happening earlier and earlier every year. Perhaps it’s because High School graduation kickstarts the college movement of parents planning to ship their kids to the dorms. Regardless, 2017 saw over $80B in spending for the Back-To-School season.

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), only 45% of families with children in grades K-12 only completed 45% of their shopping by early August, proving the Back-To-School shopping starts earlier – with some claiming to begin their shopping as early as April!

WHEN IT STARTS: According to the NRF, in 2017, the breakdown of when consumers start their Back-To-School shopping varies over the course of the summer.

  • 27.1% start shopping at least 2 months before school starts
  • 46.7% start shopping 3 weeks to 1 month before school starts
  • 21.0% start shopping 1-2 weeks before school starts
  • 3.1% start shopping after school starts
  • 2.1% start shopping the week school starts

WHERE THEY SHOP: According to the NRF, in 2017, consumers plan to shop for Back-To-School across a variety of channels. Having a diversified selling strategy will ensure your sales are optimized from April through September, and a great precursor learning experience before the major Holiday season in November & December.

  • 57.1% plan to shop through Department Stores
  • 54.1% plan to shop through a Discount Store
  • 46.0% plan to shop through a Clothing Store
  • 46.0% plan to shop Online
  • 35.6% plan to shop through an Office Supplies Store
  • 24.6% plan to shop through an Electronics Store
  • 11.9% plan to shop through a Local/Small Business
  • 9.1% plan to shop through Thrift Stores/Resale Shops
  • 6.0% plan to shop through a Catalog

If you did your math, the above doesn’t equal 100%. The reason? Consumer plan to shop across these retail areas as they’ll need a variety of goods and/or services to prepare for school.

ONLINE SHOPPING: Let’s face it, summer is a time to spend outside, go on family vacations – not shopping indoors during their free time or running endless errands. While summer and leisure are 2 words that go together, summertime is often a very busy time for families – lots to do in such little time. Convenience of shopping online and having the merchandise shipped to them become a major attraction. In fact, 90.5% of shoppers plan to take advantage of Free Shipping offers for their business according to the NRF.

Additionally, 54% of shoppers plan to buy online and pick it up in store the same day, or have it shipped to the store for pick-up in a few days. As online shopping increases, we imagine same day store pickup will continue to rise as it allows shoppers to shop online, wherever they are, and then pick up on their way home. Picture this: a family is having a fun day at the beach on the last day before school starts, and they suddenly realize they forgot to get lunchboxes. Rather than end the day early to go shopping, they pick up their phone, locate the desired items, make the purchase, and pickup on their way home – maybe even stopping for some dinner along the way.


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