The evolution of back-to-school shopping

Spending on electronic devices almost doubled spending on textbooks and clothes for back-to-school shopping, according to a recent study by ebiquity for American Express among US parent internet users with school-age children and/or college students.  On average, parents spent $529 on electronic devices followed by textbooks at $270 and clothing and accessories at $265.

In addition to a notably higher spend on electronic devices, mobile devices are also playing a big role during the back-to-school shopping process. 63% of US mothers with children under the age of 18, based on results of a July 2014 PunchTab study, planned to use their smartphones while back-to-school shopping.

Smartphones were identified as the first source of information for price-related queries. On their smartphones, 48% look for coupons or sales, 30% compare prices among different stores and 29% browse for items in online stores. 18% of these mothers research items on brands’ websites.

46%, of the 59% of respondents who planned to use their smartphone while in brick-and-mortar stores, said they would look for mobile coupons. For this same group, only 11% planned to look at online reviews, check point status or loyalty rewards and just 3% planned to use their smartphones for a mobile wallet or payment app to pay for purchases while in brick-and-mortars.

The opportunity for consumer brands is to look at this data and identify when, and with what message, to reach their target. As electronic devices become increasingly accessible to younger audiences, brands have increasing opportunity to reach kids via these devices. As for their moms, brands should assess the role mobile coupons and store websites should play in their media strategy.

With contributions by Lori Kruger


Brad is an expert in private label and challenger brand food marketing for Barkley, an integrated marketing and advertising agency. He specializes in working with manufacturing-driven food companies that have aspirations to develop a consumer insight-led strategies to help drive innovation and growth.

Comments are closed.