Back to School – It’s Like the Holidays Come Early

Jul 23, 2019
By: Marissa Camilli

If you have school or college-age kids, you’ll know that the back to school shopping bonanza is big business. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF) parents are set to spend a record-breaking $80.7 billion on sending their little darlings back to the classroom after the summer recess. That’s an average of $696.70 for every household with kids in school and a massive $976.78 for those with kids in college.

Those school supplies and books, clothes and accessories, and shoes don’t come cheap – but these are items that more than 90% of parents are planning to buy over the next month or so. Another 54% of parents are also considering purchasing expensive electronic devices, such as smartphones, tablets and laptop computers, for the new school term. If you are in the business of selling to the back to school market, you can forget the holidays because this is your peak sales period.

Note: If you are still not convinced by back to school opportunity then consider this: Back to school is the second busiest online shopping period of the year after the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend in the run-up the holidays. Valentines Day and Mothering Sunday don’t even come close. There’s a lot of money invested in sending those kids back to the classroom and you’d be unwise to ignore it.

Mobile Commerce

Just because this is a busy shopping period for many parents, it doesn’t mean they want to waste the precious summer months hanging out at the mall. Back to school shopping is increasingly about online retail and the vast majority of that is done via a mobile device.

In 2018, the eCommerce software company Shopify stated that eCommerce sales from mobile devices reached a staggering 66% over the back to school shopping period, compared to just 33.5% via a desktop device.

While the NRF suggests that many parents plan their back to school shopping to coincide with big eCommerce sales events like Amazon’s Prime Day on July 16th, Shopify suggests it also sees significant surges at the end of August and around Labor Day.

A Competitive Market

Sales events, including the aforementioned Amazon Prime Day, highlight a very real problem for many online retailers. The back to school opportunity may be big but just how do you compete with an omnipresent brand like Amazon?

According to TechCrunch, Amazon owns 49% of all eCommerce sales in the United States and 5% of all retail spend. When you factor in big-box retailers like Wal-Mart and Staples (who also drive a lot of sales online) this doesn’t leave very much for smaller online brands to fight over unless they get strategic about how they acquire and retain their customers.

Thankfully, in the mobile environment (where the bulk of the back to school sales action happens) there are opportunities for ambitious retailers to grab prime retail real estate back from the big guys and take their fair share of the profits.

Pre-Loaded Success

Digital Turbine enables retailers to pre-load their eCommerce shopping apps directly on the home screens of millions of new smartphones, helping new customers become familiar with their brand at the moment of maximum engagement – unboxing and activation. This familiarity is then re-enforced every time a device owners looks at their screen.

Further Reading: App Distribution: Alternative Routes to Market for Android Developers.

With the average smartphone user “checking” their device on average 52 times per day, it doesn’t take long before a previously unknown organization becomes a well-known brand.

The Kids are Alright

Back to school doesn’t just create opportunities for brands to target parents with their retail apps, the end-of-summer sales season also places smartphones into the hands of millions of young people every year. This creates a huge opportunity to promote educational and recreational (games) apps to a whole new market who, let’s face it just cannot put their devices down.

Further Reading:  Top Game Developer Enjoys 7x Lift in Conversion Rates with SingleTap™ Installs.

Learn More

To learn more about how pre-loading your app on millions of new devices can help you maximize the opportunity of back to school shopping, talk to one of our smartphone app marketing experts today.

Marissa Camilli
By Marissa Camilli
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