The Back-to-School Digital Business

Back-to-school means another year of fresh books, backpacks and binders. But in 2016, purchasing each of these items is far from basic. With the evolution of digital media casting a halo on our everyday lives, it’s no surprise that parents are spending more and more using their mobile devices when it comes to back-to-school shopping. Brands are very intuitively using those mobile screens as another money-making method to feed into consumers’ habits. So, just as seasons change, trends do too. There are brands that are evolving from typical marketing methods by tapping into digital apps or social media to target parents in an insightful way with back-to-school incentives and tips, which not only boosts sales but leaves parents, and of course their kids, satisfied.

Back-to-school preparation may be perceived as a monumental event. And with each year that passes, it just keeps getting bigger. According to AdWeek and eMarketer, back-to-school sales in the U.S. are expected to increase 2.6 percent this year, which means sales for the season may total around $828.8 billion. A separate study reported by Adweek and released by GfK and Facebook IQ, notes that more than 60 percent of adults in a recent survey said they planned to begin shopping for back-to-school via mobile devices. What’s the motivation? Convenience.


Even though convenience is top-of-mind, the time parents spend searching online for back-to-school items is still extensive. In a BigCommerce survey, parents will spend 75% more time than non-parents. Amazon plays a heavy role in all of this online shopping because it allows parents to buy everything they need from one site, which is known to offer one of the lowest prices around. According to Forbes, it is projected that online giant Amazon, through its shopping app, is expected to surpass Staples in terms of sales. Additionally, Consumer Growth Partners projects Amazon will account for roughly a quarter of overall seasonal back-to-school sales.


The result of higher purchasing through your friendly mobile device is due to parents getting more comfortable with our digital age. Use and popularity of streaming services like Netflix continue to rise and as they grow more accustomed with the new territory of technology, trust and familiarity increases, which leads to more downloads of mobile apps, click throughs on social media and an uptick in online spend.

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