Back to School With a New Smartphone

Aug 10, 2018
By: Marissa Camilli

If you don’t have kids, you’d be forgiven for missing out on the hype – but back-to-school is a really big deal. In fact, it’s the second biggest shopping season of the year, with parents in the United States spending a massive $27.6 billion on equipping their children for the academic year ahead.

While the vast majority of back-to-school purchases take place in bricks ‘n’ mortar retail stores – 61 percent of school clothing, accessories and school supplies are acquired in-store – the smartphone (and other smart devices) are increasingly becoming a major component of the annual shopping frenzy.

According to the consultancy firm Deloitte, back-to-school shoppers will spend upwards of $2.8 billion on electronic gadgets (including smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, etc.). With the average spend topping $271, we can safely assume that these gadgets are a lot “smarter” than the $10 scientific calculator previous generations were packed off to school with.

Smartphones in School

There are many reasons why both kids and parents will want to include a smartphone in their back-to-school shopping. While security or peace of mind will undoubtedly be top-of-the-list for many parents, the kids’ focus will almost certainly be on social connectivity with friends (dare we mention peer pressure?) and other entertainment purposes (YouTube, gaming, etc.). But hey, let’s not forget the educational opportunities afforded by a smartphone.

While some schools initially resisted the presence of smartphones in the classroom, many are now including the devices in lessons. Some schools are even providing students with smartphones and tablets (without call plans) so they can access online services via wi-fi.

There are, of course, many legitimate reasons why a smartphone is so useful in the classroom. These include:

  • Access to the internet for research and referencing.
  • Access to e-mail (great for project work).
  • The ability to snap a picture of the day’s homework assignment scribbled on a whiteboard.
  • The ability to take a short video or voice recording of a key lecture moment.
  • To keep track of schedules and dates (no excuses for missing homework deadlines or forgetting gym class).

However, perhaps the most important reason for allowing smartphones into the classroom is the basic fact that these devices are essential, everyday tools used in the workplace. They aren’t going away anytime soon – so perhaps we had better prepare our children with some real-life “work” experience (paper and pen are so last century).

Great Smartphone Deals

The back-to-school shopping phenomenon hasn’t gone un-noticed by many mobile networks and device manufacturers and there are some great deals out there for anyone hoping to pick-up a bargain.

Companies like T-mobile and Verizon are offering some amazing buy-one-get-one-free and cashback deals on premium devices like the Samsung Galaxy S9, as well as heavily promoting a number of sub-$100 dollar devices.

Note: The breadth of choice when it comes to smartphone deals suggests it is always a good idea to research your best options online before committing to a plan. While the majority (53 percent) of back-to-school devices will be purchased in-store, a little prior knowledge around the deals could save you a lot of legwork as well as a lot of cash.

What Does Back-to-School Mean for App Developers?

App developers cannot ignore the back-to-school opportunity to place their apps in front of the right people at the right time.

A well-placed app on a new device (particularly a first device when the moment of unboxing is particularly cherished) has the potential to score incredible user lifetime value.

And it’s not just kids who will be returning to school with new devices in their pockets. Smartphone purchases by more mature students, teachers (trying to keep-up with the kids), and let’s not forget the parents, who have perhaps benefited from those family and buy-one-get-one-free deals, mean there is a ton of new devices out there to target.

Digital Turbine works with app developers and marketers, helping them position their apps on targeted devices (based on criteria such as model, network, plan, geography, previous app installs, etc.) to ensure the highest possible activation and engagement rates.

To learn how pre-loading and smart folders can educate your target audience about the possibilities of your next app project, speak to one of our advisors today.

Marissa Camilli
By Marissa Camilli
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