What’s On The List For Back-to-School?

Back-to-school, back-to-college…whatever your grade, it’s a big shopping season. And just like the revenue generating winter holidays, retailers are finding ways to make the BTS selling season start earlier and last longer. We are nearly two months into the BTS season and it’s still going strong. But there is a slight change in what shoppers are buying now vs. two months ago.

Shoppers are likely to buy clothing, computers and other higher priced items early in the season not only because they are the fun things to buy, but also because these items tend to be on sale early and run out if you wait too long. This late in the season, shopping lists shift toward pantry items including school snacks or detergent for the dorms. Last year, over 60% of back-to-college shoppers still had household and personal care items on their list as of August 1st.

As the BTS shopping season gets longer (and more competitive), it will be helpful for marketers to understand exactly when shoppers are seeking their products. If applesauce is not on the list until August, perhaps fewer marketing dollars are spent in June and July? Or the early season messaging inspires shoppers to stock-up and avoid last minute pantry loading? How do you think marketers should account for the evolving shopping lists of BTS shoppers?