What Marketers Need to Know About Back to School

July 11, 2017

Colleen Vaughan

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Seems like summer just started, right? The reality is back-to-school season has already begun. Yahoo search and mobile insights revealed that almost 50% of all BTS purchases occur in July and August. In the last five years alone, consumer back-to-school e-commerce sales have increased more than 75% and retail sales have increased by 14%. So get your #2 pencils ready: we’ve compiled the back-to-school stats marketers need to know to inform their strategies this season.

Mobile matters more than ever

  • BTS related searches on mobile devices increased 34% from 2015 to 2016. (Source)
  • Most popular BTS searches on mobile: electronics, supplies, apparel. (Source)
  • Mobile shoppers deal hunt: From January to December, the percentage of back to school deal searches conducted on mobile increases by 500%. (Source)

Is your back-to-school themed content optimized for mobile? Deliver targeted coupons and deals to mobile users to ensure your brand is in their shopping cart.

Kids have a major say in purchases  

  • 53% of moms said their children strongly influence clothing decisions, 45% said children strongly influence groceries for packed lunches, and 20% said their children strongly influence school supplies. (Source)
  • 55% said their kids like going to stores for supplies. (Source)

Partner with influencers to create and show fun usage occasions for BTS products for children, while making the products easy for parents to incorporate into their routines. Create content stories that promote an experience that kids and parents could easily do together and prompt them to go to retail stores, like an in-store scavenger hunt.

What’s on the lunch menu

  • 67% plan to pack lunches this school year and 40% plan to take a snack for non-lunch consumption. (Source)
  • Lunches will most likely contain (in order of likelihood): fresh or packaged fruit, salty snacks, plastic bags, water, sandwich/wrap meat, packaged sweet snacks, dairy-based foods, plastic containers, sandwich wrap non-meat, juice. (Source)

Parents are going for convenience, health and snack items when packing their kids lunch boxes. Partnering with other brands for co-op campaigns can show how your product fits in with others for a balanced school lunch.   

Parents planning to spend more 

  • 50% of moms said they would likely spend more on BTS shopping in 2017 than they did last year; 43% said they would spend about the same. (Source)
  • 57% of respondents said BTS shopping is a strain on their personal budget. (Source)
  • 55% report price as the highest priority when shopping for school supplies. (Source)
  • Only 38% of moms report completely following a school supply list (Source)

Including coupon/promotions in your BTS campaigns can make the purchase decisions for  products more accessible and less of a stressor for parent’s wallets. Additionally, since many parents are not strictly shopping for products suggested by their kids’ schools, there is a huge opportunity to to introduce new products to them through relevant, targeted content.

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