Back-to-School Spending Could Reach Over $58 Billion This Year

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

internet-marketing-conceptThere are few times every year where retailers can count on consumers to do some shopping. Christmas, Mother’s Day and other holidays are good examples of such a time of the year. Retailers are about to hit one of the few times of year where consumers are guaranteed to go shopping, but when no holiday is coming up: back-to-school shopping. Recent studies have suggested that this upcoming back to school season will be especially good for marketers.

The first study comes from HookLogic who surveyed families with school-age children and teens in college. According to the HookLogic data, three out of ten (30.3%) families of K-12 students, and around one in four (27.1%) for the families of college students, will spend more on their 2015 school shopping than than they did in 2014.

The HookLogic study also found that the majority planned to spend the same as they did last year. This was level of spending reported by about three out five families for both the school age children (63.9%) and for those with college students (58.3%).To look at it another way, this mean that only 5.8 percent of K-12 families and 11.4 percent of college families plan to spend less than they did last year.

Overall, HookLogic estimates that back-to-school spending could exceed $58 billion. If these forecasts prove to be accurate, it would be a 14 percent increase year over year. It certainly gives retailers good reason to stock their shelves with pencils and to run marketing specials to get customers in the door.

Speaking of getting customers through the door, the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)  released a report which forecasts that most back-to-school shopping will continue to happen in stores (83%). This may seem like it’s not worth it to advertise back-to-school specials online, but that would be wrong. Given the estimated back-to-school spending from HookLogic, even if only 17 percent comes from online, it will be worth about $9 billion. And those who do order online for in-store pickup will likely purchase additional items during the transaction.

“Retailers are enjoying a strong start to the BTS shopping season after a sluggish first quarter of 2015,” said Jesse Tron, spokesman for ICSC. “While typically viewed as an essential expenditure, BTS shopping also highlights many of the trends occurring in the shopping center industry. As physical spaces merge with digital to further enhance the omnichannel experience, consumers are shopping in physical stores, participating in webrooming and using mobile technology at shopping centers. It’s good news as we progress into the all-important latter half of the retail calendar.”

The ICSC study also provided data that shows how mobile marketing can be helpful during back to school shopping. For shoppers using mobile devices in store, 44 percent will compare prices and 28 percent will look for mobile coupons.

Marketers should let consumers know if they have a wide selection for them to look through. According to the survey, 42 percent of those who plan to shop in store say they do so because they ‘like to look over’ items prior to purchase.

And though July is almost past us, there’s still plenty of time to get in on the back-to-school spending frenzy. When people shop varies by when schools reopen, but the majority (53%) say they’ll shop for school in August.

For more information on back-to-school shopping, read this article on about another study on the 2015 back to school shopping season.

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