Amid predictions of more confident back-to-school shoppers, both Macy’s and Target are offering peeks at their fall marketing efforts. For Macy’s, the emphasis is on 1970s bohemian looks, denim-on-denim and plenty of “athleisure” offerings. And for Target, it’s chic comfort, served up by some of the web’s hottest young dance phenoms.
The National Retail Federation unveiled its back-to-school spending forecast, which predicts per-family spending will decline to $630.36, including electronics and apparel, down from $669.28 last year. And it forecasts total spending of almost $25 billion. (When back-to-college spending is included, the total is expected to reach $68 billion.)
But the decrease is more a result of last year’s splurges, the Washington D.C.-based trade group says, pointing out that consumer confidence around BTS is high. The survey says that this year, some 76.4% of families with school-age kids say they will change their spending because of the economy. That’s down from 81.1% last year, and the lowest its been in the seven years the group has been tracking it. And in the past 10 years, families have spent an average of 42% more suiting kids up for the new school year.
“Heading into the second half of the year, we are optimistic that economic growth and consumer spending will improve after a shaky first half of the year,” say NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay in its release.
One change, though, is that the survey finds shoppers intend to hold off before getting started, with fewer than one in five starting two months early, and 30.3% planning to shop one or two weeks before the opening bell, up from 25.4% last year.
The NRF also included questions about omnichannel intentions, with 48.4% planning to use ship-to-store offerings, and 92.1% looking for free shipping deals.
And increasingly, kids are calling the shots, with
86.4% of parents saying kids influence 25% or more of back-to-school purchases.
So it makes sense that marketers are increasingly courting the stars that influence kids most. Macy’s, for example, is staging in-store events with teen singer-songwriter Daniel Skye. And it’s also organizing back-to-school shopping parties hosted by celebrity vlogger Lindsey Hughes.
While Target says it won’t unveil its new spot until Aug. 2, it’s already teasing a preview, which includes dancing sensations Maddie Ziegler, Mace Maya and Kida the Great testing out its stretch denim, and promising a Tori Kelly cover of the Jackson Five’s “ABC” as a theme song.