Earn High Marks: Consumer Back-to-School Shopping Insights

Pack up the flip-flops and deflate the floaties. Kids are heading back to school. And if most of them are like my daughter, it’s all about what you wear and how you wear it.

Back-to-school shopping. A time of tax-free holidays (in some states), long checkout lines, and parking lot gridlock. From uniforms to the latest “pop idol”-inspired gear, tablets and laptops, backpacks, down to pencil boxes, consumers come out in droves to rack up on deep discounts during this incredible shopping event, second only to after Christmas holiday shopping.

And interestingly, though they plan to spend about the same amount of money this year, Hispanics and non-Hispanics go about back-to-school shopping differently, especially when it comes to where and how often the two consumer groups shop. 

The results of a recent nationwide study we conducted identified key insights into the Hispanic back-to-school shopping experience. And for those hoping to score big with this consumer group, we’ve got a few ideas for you to consider.



Be Where They Are

For a couple of years now, we’ve been reporting on how Hispanic consumers are more aggressive users and earlier adopters of technology. And that trend is apparent in this shopper study. 

Results showed that across every purchasing category measured, a larger percentage of Hispanics will be shopping online than will non-Hispanics. The top five items purchased? Books, school supplies and electronics (tie), shoes, and clothing. 

So, it’s important to meet Hispanics where they source information – on their mobile devices. Prior studies show that over 40% of Hispanics frequently use their mobile phones to shop, opening the door for mobile and local search marketing.

Offer Value, Not Just Low Prices

While Hispanics and non-Hispanics agree on the amount they’ll spend this year, around $294, they differ on how long it will take them to spend it.

When participants in the study were asked how many trips to physical stores they’d need to complete back-to-school shopping and how many online shopping sessions would be needed to do the same, Hispanics took the lead.

On trips to physical stores, it takes Hispanics 19% more visits (3.81 visits vs. 3.20 visits). When shopping online, 31% more sessions (2.60 vs. 1.98).

Why so much longer with the same amount of money to spend? Great question but there’s no clear answer. The data suggests that it could be because they’re shopping for more children (on average, 1.9 children for Hispanics, 1.5 for non-Hispanics) or that they’re more picky than non-Hispanic shoppers, as suggested in the results other shopper studies.

One thing is for certain, however. Hispanic consumers use activities like this as social events – an opportunity to bring family and friends together. They aren’t necessarily looking for the cheapest price, but are far more concerned about making the experience enjoyable.

Be Sensitive to Acculturation Level

Even within the Hispanic community, there are differences that should not be ignored, especially when you compare high-acculturated and low-acculturated consumers. 

For example, 95% of high-acculturated Hispanics planned to buy general school supplies this year, compared to only 81% for low-acculturated. And most intriguing? While 73% of low-acculturated Hispanics plan on buying electronics this year, only 31% of the high-acculturated had tech on their shopping list.

To Sum It Up 

In some ways, back-to-school shopping in the Hispanic community is not all that dissimilar from non-Hispanics, but there are big differences there and within the Hispanic community itself.

Those who educate themselves on those differences and create shopping experiences that respect those differences, will be rewarded with a gold star.

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