Image from: School Supplies / Shutterstock
Students everywhere are savoring their last bits of summer vacation, the few weeks before they have to trade in ice cream cones and carefree afternoons for notebooks and homework. That also means millions of consumers are in the market for back-to-school products. According to the Summer 2012 Online Shopper Intelligence survey, back-to-school shoppers are busy this season, with more than half of shoppers purchasing products for more than one student.
Three out of four back-to-school shoppers are purchasing products on behalf of their children, most often being elementary aged children. A surprisingly high percentage report buying back-to-school items for themselves, which makes me think that parents are taking advantage of sales and treating themselves while buying items for their kids.
But what products are people shopping for specifically? The answer is: school supplies, clothing, and shoes are all on the back-to-school list for most shoppers. The lower rate of consumers buying bed/bath, dorm, and kitchen products corresponds to the lower proportion of consumers buying products for college students.
Just like last year, mass merchants are the preferred retailer for back-to-school purchases. The convenience of one-stop shopping is particularly appealing to those people who are shopping on behalf of more than one person.
Finally, when it comes down to how much consumers will spend, retailers can expect similar sales figures. Half will spend the same amount and 1 out of 3 will actually spend more than they did last year.
This is good news for the economy and great news for all those kids hoping to return to school with the coolest threads and kicks. Who knows? Maybe Old Navy’s “new girl” syndrome will be more popular than we think.
Debra Miller Arbesman is senior associate, retailer and consumer products at Compete, a Kantar Media company that helps brands improve their marketing based on the online behavior of millions of consumers.