News & Trends

Summer is cooling down; Back-to-school is heating up

Posted by: Jen Maisch Jen Maisch
on August 26, 2015

Back-to-school and college shopping season, the second biggest shopping period of the year behind holiday shopping, is in full force. The good news? If you haven’t started your back-to-school shopping yet, you’re not alone. The National Retail Federation’s (NRF) annual consumer survey revealed that 30 percent of back-to-school shoppers will wait until one to two weeks before school starts to begin their shopping this year, up from 25 percent in 2014.

Back-to-school and college spending is expected to reach $68 billion in 2015, with families planning to spend an average of $97.74 on school supplies, the second-highest amount since the recession. So who decides what makes the cut? 86.4 percent of school shoppers say their children will influence one-quarter or more of their back-to-school purchases.

A new type of shopper

Surprisingly, today’s teen demonstrates shopping behaviors that mimic their parents. A recent Associated Press story uncovered that the persona of the “teen shopper” is changing – not only are teens shopping year-round for things they need, eliminating the need for the back-to-school rush, but they’re less likely to buy full price when they do make a purchase. They’re also relying on social media and online sites to choose complete looks before they even get to the store. According to Google, image searches for “school outfit” soared 76 percent in July.

Retailers are paying close attention, and adjusting back-to-school promotions and marketing accordingly. Macy’s and JCPenney are extending back-to-school promotions through September, as opposed to ending them around Labor Day. Brick-and-mortar stores are also displaying top-to-bottom looks from various brands to make it easier for teens to make a purchase in-store.

What’s hot in back-to-school

We took a look at Pinterest, where there have been 72 million back-to-school pins since the start of July, to see what’s in style this back-to-school season. Here are a few of our favorites:

Catch anything we missed? Tell us what products are flying off your shelves this back-to-school season.


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