Online comparison shopping continues to drive growth in ecommerce and success for paid-search ads. School and college shoppers this year expect to spend $83.8 billion on back-to-school clothing, electronics and more, according to a recent study.
Search marketers need to rethink how to use search to brand products and services at the top of the marketing funnel. Only 34.6% of college shoppers will do the remainder of their shopping online, compared with 27% of back-to-school grade-school shoppers, according to the National Retail Federation's 2012 Back-to-School and College Surveys conducted by BIGinsight.
A higher percentage of consumers will head for physical local stores, increasing the need for cross-channel mobile and offline marketing strategies. The report estimates that some 47.6% of those going to college will head into discount stores, compared with 59.6% of grade-school kids.
The average parent with children in grades K through 12 has completed 40.1% of their shopping, while college shoppers and their families have completed slightly more at 45.3%, according to the NRF study
Although 65% of U.S. parents who own smartphones plan to use the device to compare prices, the Deloitte 2012 Back-to-School Survey reveals that only 33% of parents and 16% of kids will discover the products online.
Compare this with 41% of parents who will still discover information about products on television, 37% from family members, 37% in newspapers, and 36% from friends. Some 59% of kids will look to friends, 41% will find the information on television, 33% through family members, and 17% on social media.
Online might lag when it comes to back-to-school sales, but search agency PM digital saw an increase in sales revenue by 24% in July, compared with the year-ago month. The company attributes the rise to growth in average conversion rates -- up 12% -- and by milder growth in average order values, up 3%.
Average cost per clicks (CPCs) keep falling, dropping 8% in July, while search clicks grew 16% year-on-year, according to PM Digital. The combination of these metrics drove marketers to spend 6% more for paid search campaigns. July had several equally high-indexing top sales days that were spread out across the month, with roughly one sales peak per week, excluding the July 4 holiday week.