According to the 2015 Back-to-School spending report card from Brand Keys, households with school-age children (pre-school through 12th grade) do not plan to spend more this year on back-to-school supplies than they did last year. The anticipated average spend is $650.00 (versus 2014's $652).
baThe average anticipated spending in all major back-to-school categories reflect similar spending levels as last year:
The breakdown of this year's 'preferred' retail categories versus last year's indicates an anticipated use of all retail platforms. The biggest increases in the choice of where and how to buy appeared in Specialty Apparel Retailers and Department Stores.
Catalogs were down again in mentions, "…although, to be fair, said Robert Passikoff, Brand Keys founder and president… some consumer purchases have just shifted from print catalogs to their digital counterparts… online has been growing generally, but increased use of mobile outreach and advertising is likely responsible for this year's growth for that platform specifically…"
Change in Preferred Retail Categories Vs. 2014
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Source: Brand Keys, July 2015
Passikoff said "While consumer confidence indices have been moving in a positive direction this year, it appears that parents are taking a hard look at what their children really need for back-to-school. There's always a need to re-stock in some areas because there's no way to get around children's growth spurts… which accounts for the 21% increase for Specialty Apparel Retailers and Department Stores sales…”
Nearly 50% of consumers indicated they had already bought and stockpiled necessities and supplies for the first day of school before August, up 15% over last year. Another 30% indicated they would wait for the 'Summer Sales.' The remaining 20% are waiting until the last minute. "Retailers have spent more than a decade teaching consumers they can get things cheaper or for better value if they wait a little longer or look a little harder, and consumers have been fast learners.
In addition to the low-lower-lowest pricing marketplace, bigger ticket items, like tablets smartphones and computers, which in years past had traditionally been purchased at the start of the school year, are now purchased throughout the year. "Parents aren't upgrading a mobile device just because classes are starting," said Passikoff.
This year, the top 10 list of most popular retail brands added Walgreen's and Sears, with Target moving to the #1 spot just ahead of Walmart. For e-tail brands, Target.com moved up the list from 2014's #10 spot to #3. Nike.com moved up, Overstock.com moved down, and eBay did not appear in this year's top-10.
Top 10 Rankings Of Retail Brands Where Consumers Intended To Shop
Source: Brand Keys, July 2015
Retail brands that can emotionally engage with consumers, are seen as surrogates for added-value, and those will be the brands that benefit most. Consumers not only believe that, they behave that way in the marketplace, concludes Passikoff
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