Act with Certainty

The ForeSee blog for CX professionals and the Voice of Customer community.

Back-to-school shopping: Here’s what’s driving sales (Report)

Instagram wins with high school students, loses among college students

Back to School

It’s that time of year again: the beginning of another school year. And regardless of what level of education, for many folks that means making a trip to the store (or stores) for back-to-school products.

To be more precise, total spending on BTS products for K-12 and college is expected to reach $75.8 billion, up from last year’s $68 billion, according to the National Retail Federation. Fortunately for retailers, ForeSee regularly collects data about student shopping habits as well as provides some insights about how the satisfaction of retail customers can affect the overall business performance.

Among those surveyed, 20% were BTS shoppers, with an aggregate FXI (satisfaction) Score of 87. These shoppers also shed some valuable insights into their own customer experience, including the number of stores they plan to shop, when they begin shopping, how much they plan to spend, what they plan to spend on, and more. The underlying observation from the data is how much research via digital channels helps drives sales to physical stores.

But perhaps the most interesting data from the study had to do with student shoppers’ preferences for social media and the device used. For high school students, the preferred social network for researching BTS products is Instagram (33%), beating out Facebook (24%) and Pinterest (27%). For college students, Instagram (26%) was the least preferred social network for BTS shopping research of the three.

Another interesting insight revolves around mobile devices. With mobile usage steadily rising among consumers over the years, you’d expect mobile gadgets would be the preferred way for student shoppers to research and buy BTS supplies. Yet, when we look at the data that isn’t always the case.

Students still prefer to research BTS items on desktops (29%) or at a physical store (32%). For purchases, students also prefer desktop computers (13%) — making it the top digital channel, second only to in-store purchasing (72%). The study also reveals that tablets are the least used device among students for both research (9%) and purchases (4%) of Back-to-School items. To contrast, smartphones were preferred by 22% of students for researching items, and only 7% for purchases.

ForeSee’s Back-To-School Benchmark study also revealed:

  • 20% of visitors surveyed were BTS shopping, with an aggregate FXI Score of 87
  • 34% of shoppers plan to purchase from three or more retailers this season.
  • Most Back-to-School shoppers will spend less than $400, with the majority of that spent on clothing.
  • Shoppers in the Northeast (US) tend to start shopping earlier than other regions, with 48% starting more than a month before school begins.
  • For high school students, the preferred social network for researching BTS products is Instagram (33%), beating out Facebook (24%) and Pinterest (27%).
  • For college students, Instagram (26%) was the least preferred social network BTS product research of the three. Facebook (30%) and Pinterest (30%) tied for most preferred.
  • Despite rising mobile device usage, students still prefer to research BTS items on desktops (29%) or at a physical store (32%).
  • Students making BTS purchases prefer to do so on a desktop computer (13%) or in-store (72%).
  • Tablets are the least used device among students for both research (9%) and purchases (4%) of Back-to-School items. To contrast, smartphones were preferred by 22% of students for researching items, and only 7% for purchases.

Data from the Back-to-School retail study was gather in July 2016, with a more comprehensive report containing additional information and insights to be available in late September.

Learn more about how ForeSee’s Industry and Competitive Benchmarks can give you the context you need to understand the impact of CX improvements during critical retail seasons like Back-to-School, or contact ForeSee today to discuss further. We’re here to help.



About the Author

As a pioneer in customer experience analytics, ForeSee delivers superior technology and proven methodology to connect the customer experience to the bottom line. The result is better business for companies and a better experience for consumers.

Read more posts by The ForeSee Blog

Write a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*