Back-to-School Shopping Data Is In — Are Retail Marketers Ready to Pivot?
As the summer days begin to wane, parents across the nation are gearing up for the annual back-to-school shopping frenzy. A recent data analysis conducted by Lotame, a global technology company that provides data enrichment solutions for enterprises, sheds light on the spending patterns of parents during this bustling season — offering valuable insights for retail marketers aiming to tailor their marketing practices and tap into this lucrative market.
Sourcing data from the Lotame Data Exchange, Lotame’s researchers found that parents in 2023 are prioritizing value, convenience, and necessities above all else. Lotame found that consumers who purchase back-to-school supplies are 2.5x more likely to have purchased Apple products in the past, 2.2x more likely to have their groceries delivered, 2.1x more likely to purchase pet supplies, and 2.4x more likely to be in-market for bike helmets and protective gear.
“Though families are navigating a challenging economic environment, the need for back-to-school supplies doesn’t lessen, therefore consumers are seeking ways to maximize the value of their spending,” said Kristen Whitmore, vice president of consumer intelligence and analytics at Lotame. “With affordability becoming a top priority, value retail has emerged as the go-to destination for savvy shoppers. This presents a golden opportunity for retailers to adapt and succeed during this crucial season.”
Back-to-school spending was projected to decrease by 10% from last year, marking the first decline since 2014, according to research by Deloitte. The drop can largely be attributed to the impact that inflation and threats of a recession have had on how parents are shopping. Rising education-related expenses and an overall decrease in consumer confidence could also be to blame. However, what’s even more noteworthy are the lifestyle habits and interests that are shared by back-to-school shoppers.
Lotame found that 71% of back-to-school shoppers prioritize health and fitness facilities in their routines, 65% have an interest in board games and puzzles, 64% are more likely to be heavy credit card users, and 57% shop at big box stores.
Insights for Retailers: Data-Driven Marketing
Prices for school supplies jumped nearly 24% in the past two years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and as a result, many shoppers are now focusing more on getting classroom supplies, like notebooks and rulers, than they are on expensive gadgets or electronics.
While traditional brick-and-mortar stores continue to be the primary shopping destination for parents, online retailers are making significant gains in market share. This shift in preference presents a unique opportunity for retailers to enhance their digital presence and refine their e-commerce strategies.
“As consumers prioritize experiences and savings, retailers must understand the importance of offering compelling deals and competitive prices to keep the excitement alive,” Whitmore said. “Despite the uncertainty, the record-breaking projected spending underscores the significance of this season for both students and retailers.”
Lotame’s findings highlight the importance of data-driven marketing strategies for retailers looking to capture their share of the back-to-school shopping market. As parents open up their wallets, retailers are presented with a golden opportunity to refine their marketing tactics.
With privacy restrictions now limiting the way brand marketers can collect online data, understanding and utilizing third-party data from data marketplaces, like Lotame, is becoming even more important. By analyzing data, retailers can create strategies that cater to the evolving preferences and behaviors of parents, whether they’re browsing the aisles of a physical store or scrolling through an online catalog. This adaptive approach not only boosts sales during the back-to-school period but also sets the stage for building lasting customer relationships.
Retailers can harness third-party data from data marketplaces in several ways:
1. Personalized Recommendations: Analyzing preferences allows retailers to offer tailored product recommendations, increasing the likelihood of conversion.
2. Segmented Advertising Campaigns: By segmenting their customer base based on demographics, shopping behaviors, and location, retailers can craft targeted advertising campaigns that resonate with specific groups of parents.
3. Optimized Pricing and Discounts: Insights into spending thresholds and price sensitivity can help retailers determine optimal pricing strategies and discount offerings.
4. Multi-Channel Engagement: Given the diverse shopping channels, retailers can optimize their online platforms for ease of use, offering seamless navigation and quick checkouts to attract online shoppers.
5. Predictive Analytics: Using historical data and trends, retailers can forecast demand for specific products and adjust inventory accordingly to prevent stockouts.