Unless you live in a place like Miami, odds are you’re gearing up for cooler weather, colorful leaves and an abundance of apple cider and pumpkin pie—yes, fall is just around the corner! Regardless of where you call home though, you’ve no doubt been involved in or influenced by the back-to-school season, whether for yourself or your kids. And while it seems like the marketing and advertising world is always changing, here are three key trends in marketing and shopping habits that are unique to the 2012 back-to-school season:
1. Increase in Spending
Back-to-school time usually means two things: ubiquitous back-to-school ads and parents spending money. In fact, a survey from the National Retail Federation (NRF) indicates back-to-school spending increased 14% compared to last year, with an average of $688.62 spent per student. And clothing will make up the bulk of this amount at $246.
Interestingly, while spending during the winter holiday season is almost seven times greater than back-to-school shopping, both events have followed similar trends. If spending for back-to-school is flat, for example, spending for Christmas usually follows the same pattern. So this year’s increase in back-to-school sales could mean that that holiday shopping will also see a growth. That would be good news for both retailers and B2B marketers.
2. Shift in Target Audience
Another noteable change for back-to-school marketers is to whom they are targeting. Traditionally, parents make the ultimate say in all purchase decisions because they are the primary money spender. However, according to an Advertising Age article, it seems that the tables have turned, and teens are more likely to share the costs of their back-to-school shopping bill. The NRF survey found that 43% of teens will spend their own money on back-to-school shopping this year, up from 38% last year.
3. Growth in Digital Marketing
The NRF survey also reports that online back-to-school shopping has increased since 2003 from 10.9% to 39.6% this year. This poses a challenge for traditional retailers as they try to make their stores as engaging as the digital shopping experience. Mobile apps, QR codes, barcode scanners, mobile coupons, a solid social media presence and easy-to-naviagte websites are all becoming part of the back-to-school shopping experience—for both parents and kids. All of these tools give shoppers the ability to dig deeper into the details of a product and make a more informed purchasing decision.
Are you surprised by any of these back-to-school marketing trends or shopping habits? Are there any others that you’ve observed? Share with us!