Back-to-School and College is retail’s second-largest season, falling well short of Holiday, but almost four times bigger than Mother’s Day. Like Holiday, it’s a complicated season, with new trends and shopping patterns behaviors rapidly evolving. However, Back-to-School represents an even greater challenge to marketers and merchandisers because of its inherently ambiguous nature – after all, exactly when is “back to school?”
August has traditionally been retail Back-to-School’s sweet spot, but it’s widening into July and September too. Further, it’s becoming increasingly common for some families to start right after school ends in late May/early June.
Earlier this year, the National Retail Federation reported that Back-to-School (and College) would be expected to reach $68 billion. But, early returns indicate families, particularly those with children in K-12, might be tightening the belt and re-using last year’s purchases.
In the infographic below, the RetailNext sheds some light on Back-to-School – when shoppers start and how the complete their journey.