Where Mobile Ecommerce and Back to School Shopping Collide

Infographic – Where Mobile, Ecommerce and Back to School Shopping Collide

The average consumer’s penchant for using digital devices as part of their back to school shopping could give eCommerce competitors a chance to gain market share.

Back to School Shopping Infographic Points to Ecommerce Retailer Opportunity

Back to school shopping has largely been an in-store experience – at least it has been up until now. With digital in general and mobile, specifically, playing a larger role in the back to school shopping experience with consumers, eCommerce retailers could grab a larger share of the action, soon. Let’s take a look at some of the statistics covered in this back to school marketing infographic, courtesy of theshelf.com.

The Size of the Back to School Shopping Market

If size matters, the back to school shopping market warrants attention. Except for the December holidays, no shopping season produces more consumer sales than the back to school shopping season, with sales of more than $828 million – a number representative of more than one-sixth of the entire year’s retail sales.

The average household with kids in K-12 spends more than $600 on back to school shopping, that number tops $1000 on average in households with college-age children. While sales peak in July and August, the season begins as early as April with percentage of sales broken down as follows:

  • 5% – April
  • 7% – May
  • 12% – June
  • 33% – July
  • 40% – August
  • 3% – September

In terms of the types of items purchased, it’s worth noting that a majority of shoppers – six out of ten – say their children’s preferences guide buying decisions when it comes to the purchase of back to school clothing, supplies and other goods, which is comprised of:

  • 50% – Apparel
  • 42% – Footwear
  • 41% – Backpacks / computer bags
  • 37% – Stationery / supplies
  • 18% – Tablets
  • 17% – Computers
  • 16% – Sporting goods
  • 16% – Housewares
  • 8% – Small appliances
  • 5% – Furniture

The second biggest decision-making factor for consumers was deals, with 40 percent of consumers saying their purchase decisions were influenced by deal-hunting and 46 percent citing price as one of their main deciding factors. One in every ten shoppers say their decisions were influenced 100 percent by deals.

The Growing Role of Digital in Back to School Shopping

A staggering 92 percent – nine out of every ten shoppers – said they used digital devices during the back to school shopping experience. Deal seeking and price comparison are two of the biggest reasons why consumers used mobile devices, with 89 percent using mobile devices to check for mobile coupons while deciding where to buy, and one in three using mobile devices in-store while shopping.

Price checking and deal-hunting might be where digital, eCommerce and back to school shoppers collide, however, these are by no means the only activities bringing mobile devices out of the consumer’s purses and pockets. They are using mobile devices throughout the shopping experience:

  • 71% – Checking prices
  • 61% – Checking for deals
  • 54% – Checking availability
  • 51% – Browsing
  • 45% – Buying
  • 31% – Finding locations
  • 21% – Wish lists
  • 14% – Product alerts
  • 13% – Scanning barcodes
  • 13% – Trends and inspiration
  • 5% – Sharing style photos
  • 4% – Personalized recommendations

Deal-seekers largely (though not exclusively) use mobile devices over computers.  59 percent of searches that include the word “coupon” are made on mobile devices, a percentage that gets much, much higher when specific name brands are also part of the online search; e.g., searches with both “coupons” and “Target” included in the search query.

Only about 8 percent of all back to school shopping transactions occur online, but the internet’s influence in buying decisions shouldn’t be discounted. It’s estimated that 36 cents out of every dollar spent on back to school shopping has been influenced by online brand interactions of one kind or another (shopping, social media, email marketing, etc.)

One in four shoppers will organize their shopping lists on Pinterest, and the same percentage say they’ll turn to Pinterest for lunch and snack ideas. Facebook is the most influential social platform in influencing fashion purchases, with one quarter of parents say they turn to Facebook for inspiration on children’s attire.

50 percent of shoppers browse online then buy in store; however, more than six out of ten shoppers browse in stores then buy online, and the same percentage of back to school shoppers check prices on their phones while in a store before buying.

Perhaps most convincing of all, though, is the impact that multi-channel brand interactions have on the biggest spenders. Back to school shoppers who use multiple channels as part of their shopping experience spend 3.5 times more than those who don’t.  In addition, don’t forget dads, who tend to spend more than moms on back to school shopping.


Infographic and back-to-school shopping stats via TheShelf.com 

back to school shopping infographic - Where Mobile, Ecommerce and Back to School Shopping Collide