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Back-to-School Shopping - US - January 2013

“Dramatic changes in the technology landscape and the prevalence of technology in the classroom have altered the way BTS shoppers research and make purchases, and has also impacted what shoppers consider to be essential school supplies. As tablet computers and similar devices take a more prominent role in delivering education, retailers of traditional school supplies may feel a decrease in the demand for ‘old-school’ supplies such as notebooks and pens. Also, despite the stabilizing economy, marketers must address consumers’ lingering money-saving behaviors such as expecting price promotions and discounts.”

– Ika Erwina, Apparel, Retail, and Technology Analyst

Some questions answered in this report include:

  • How can retailers hedge against deeply entrenched saving behaviors?
  • What can retailers do to stand out amidst showrooming behaviors?
  • Is tailoring BTS marketing message to generational groups essential?
  • What are the potential implications of digital technology on BTS market?

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
        • Data sources
          • Consumer survey data
            • Advertising creative
              • Abbreviations and terms
                • Abbreviations
                  • Terms
                  • Executive Summary

                      • Retailers can be encouraged by optimistic BTS anticipated spending
                        • Total 2012 BTS anticipated spending at a record high
                          • Figure 1: Anticipated spending on back-to-school shopping and change in total vs. per household anticipated spend, July 2008-12
                        • Apparel and accessories top 2012 anticipated spending
                          • Figure 2: Consumer anticipated spending on back-to-school shopping, by segment, July 2012
                        • BTS shoppers
                          • Parents of school-age children span multiple generations
                            • Figure 3: Children school enrollment by school type, by generation, October 2012
                          • School-age children are a multicultural and diversified group
                            • Figure 4: U.S. population and share of children aged 6-17, by race/Hispanic origin, 2013
                          • Market drivers
                            • Boost in anticipated BTS spending correlate with consumer confidence
                              • Figure 5: University of Michigan’s index of consumer sentiment, July-Sept 2008-12
                            • School uniforms are trending up and becoming affordable
                              • Figure 6: Percentage of public schools in the U.S. requiring uniforms and enforcing a dress code, selected school years 1999-2000 through 2009-10
                            • A rise in distance learning enrollments in secondary education
                              • Figure 7: Public high school student enrollments in distance learning, selected school years 2002-03 through 2009-10
                            • Competitive context
                              • Online retail channel is consistently making strong inroads in the retail space
                                • Digital technology penetration into K-12
                                  • Retail channels
                                    • Figure 8: Anticipated retail channels for purchasing back-to-school items, July 2012
                                  • Leading companies
                                    • Consumer behaviors
                                      • Spending by category increased from 2011
                                        • Figure 9: Change in back-to-school spending, by category, October 2012
                                      • Meeting children’s school needs viewed as essential
                                        • Figure 10: Attitudes and behaviors toward spending and saving on back-to-school items, October 2012
                                      • Buying BTS items from sales racks and using coupons are common
                                        • Figure 11: Money-saving tactics used for back-to-school shopping in Fall 2012, October 2012
                                      • What we think
                                      • Issues in the Market

                                          • How can retailers hedge against deeply entrenched saving behaviors?
                                            • What can retailers do to stand out amidst showrooming behaviors?
                                              • Is tailoring BTS marketing message to generational groups essential?
                                                • What are the potential implications of digital technology on BTS market?
                                                • Insights and Opportunities

                                                  • Educated parents likely eager to invest in educational products
                                                    • Uniforms and dress code requirements could merit market opportunity
                                                      • Savvy consumers require attentive, personalized shopping experiences
                                                        • Distinctive marketing appeals, particularly for Millennial parents
                                                        • Trend Application

                                                            • Trend: Greenfluencers
                                                              • Trend: Premiumization and Indulgence
                                                                • Inspire 2015 Trends
                                                                  • Access Anything Anywhere
                                                                  • Anticipated Spending on BTS Shopping

                                                                    • Key points
                                                                      • 2012 BTS consumer anticipated spending hits a new all-time high
                                                                        • Figure 12: Consumer anticipated spending on back-to-school shopping, at current prices, July 2007-12
                                                                      • Anticipated spending in 2012 showed much improvement in all segments
                                                                        • Figure 13: Consumer anticipated spending on back-to-school shopping, by segment, July 2007-12
                                                                      • Clothing and accessories top the 2012 BTS anticipated spending
                                                                        • Figure 14: Consumer anticipated spending on back-to-school clothing and accessories, at current prices, July 2007-12
                                                                      • Consumer anticipation on footwear purchases shows the strongest growth
                                                                        • Figure 15: Consumer anticipated spending on back-to-school shoes, at current prices, July 2007-12
                                                                      • Budget allocations on electronics is second highest
                                                                        • Figure 16: Consumer anticipated spending on back-to-school electronics, at current prices, July 2007-12
                                                                      • Healthy growth in anticipated spending on school supplies
                                                                        • Figure 17: Consumer anticipated spending on back-to-school supplies, at current prices, July 2007-12
                                                                    • Demographics and Characteristics of School-Age Children, and Parents

                                                                      • Key points
                                                                        • Parents of school-age children more highly educated than the average
                                                                          • Figure 18: Educational attainment of parents with school-age children, 2007-11
                                                                          • Figure 19: Educational attainment, by age/generation, 2011
                                                                        • Moms are not alone in handling BTS shopping, dads are involved as well
                                                                          • Figure 20: Household living arrangement of school-age children, by race/Hispanic origin, 2011
                                                                        • Number of 6-11s projected to increase; 12-17s are expected to decline
                                                                          • Figure 21: U.S. population, by age, 2008-18
                                                                        • Hispanic households are twice as likely as non-Hispanic to have children
                                                                          • Figure 22: Presence and ages of children in U.S. households, by Hispanic origin, 2012
                                                                        • Cultural diversity in school-age children population presents opportunities
                                                                          • Figure 23: U.S. population of children aged 6-17, by race/Hispanic origin, 2008-18
                                                                        • Increased enrollment rate among school-age children drives BTS market
                                                                          • Figure 24: Percentage of children age 3-17 enrolled in school, by age group, October 2001-10
                                                                        • Optimistic outlook on public school enrollment
                                                                          • Projected strong growth in enrollment is notable for preK-8
                                                                            • Figure 25: Public school enrollment, by grade level, selected school years 2001-02 through 2011-22
                                                                          • Through 2021-22, the West region will be the fastest growing for enrollments
                                                                            • Figure 26: Percentage change in public school enrollment, by state/jurisdiction, 2010-11 to 2021-22
                                                                          • Cultural diversity among young shoppers necessitates a unique marketing approach
                                                                            • Figure 27: Percentage distribution of public school enrollment, by race/Hispanic origin, October 2001-October 2010
                                                                            • Figure 28: Percentage distribution of public school enrollment, by race/Hispanic origin and region, October 2001 vs. 2010
                                                                          • Private school enrollment experienced a decline
                                                                            • Figure 29: Private school enrollment, by grade level, selected school years 2001-02 through 2009-10
                                                                            • Figure 30: Percentage distribution of private school enrollment, by region, selected school years 2001-02 through 2009-10
                                                                        • Market Drivers

                                                                          • Key points
                                                                            • Increasing consumer confidence boosts anticipated BTS spending
                                                                              • Figure 31: University of Michigan’s index of consumer sentiment, November 1978-2012
                                                                            • Children’s footwear price index outperforms boys’ and girls’ apparel
                                                                              • Figure 32: Consumer price indexes on children’s apparel and footwear, by gender, 1978-2011
                                                                            • Children’s predilection towards fashion starts early
                                                                              • Figure 33: Kids’ attitudes toward fashion, by school grades, April 2011-June 2012
                                                                              • Figure 34: Teens’ attitudes toward fashion, by school grades, April 2011-June 2012
                                                                            • School uniforms, strict dress codes trending up and becoming affordable
                                                                              • Figure 35: Percentage of public schools in the U.S. with dress code, by selected school years 1999-2000 through 2009-10
                                                                            • Growth of online learning in secondary education
                                                                              • Figure 36: Public high school students enrollment in distance learning, by region, selected school years 2002-03 and 2009-10
                                                                          • Competitive Context

                                                                            • Online retailers have steadily grown BTS market share
                                                                              • Online shopping promotes “showrooming”
                                                                                • Impact of digital technology gaining traction in K-12 education
                                                                                • Retail Channels

                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                    • Consumers shop at multiple retail channels for BTS needs
                                                                                      • Figure 37: Anticipated retail channels for purchasing back-to-school items, July 2007-12
                                                                                    • Mass merchandisers are the most likely BTS shopping channel
                                                                                      • Figure 38: Retailers and channels shopped for back-to-school items, by category, October 2012
                                                                                  • Leading Companies

                                                                                      • Walmart posted positive sales in 2012 BTS season
                                                                                        • Target’s BTS sales beat expectations for 2012
                                                                                          • Kmart/Sears continue to struggle
                                                                                          • Innovations and Innovators

                                                                                            • A centralized, online school supply list for specific class
                                                                                              • Figure 39: Walmart, “Classrooms by Walmart,” July 2012
                                                                                            • BTS Saturday—the shopping event of the year?
                                                                                              • Figure 40: TeenVogue, “Back-to-School Saturday,” July 2012
                                                                                            • Mobile shopping initiatives through sweepstakes
                                                                                              • Figure 41: Kohl’s, “Shop It to Win It,” August 2012
                                                                                          • Marketing Strategies

                                                                                            • Fashion and its influence on BTS shopping
                                                                                              • Strategy: Featuring fashionista kids at affordable prices
                                                                                                • Figure 42: H&M, “Long Sleeves,” July 2012
                                                                                              • Strategy: Addressing bullying behavior
                                                                                                • Figure 43: Old Navy, “Pantsed,” August 2012
                                                                                              • Strategy: Appealing to kids’ sense of style
                                                                                                • Figure 44: Kmart, “Work It,” August 2012
                                                                                              • Promoting money-saving tactics
                                                                                                • Strategy: Encouraging and early start for BTS shopping
                                                                                                  • Figure 45: JCPenney, “Back To School,” July 2012
                                                                                                • Strategy: Leveraging celebrity endorsements to promote brands
                                                                                                  • Figure 46: Office Depot, “Feel The Power ($1/Dollar Deals),” August 2012
                                                                                                • Strategy: Promoting the excitement of saving through price comparison
                                                                                                  • Figure 47: Walmart, “Back To School,” August 2012
                                                                                                • Strategy: Promoting loyalty resulting in savings
                                                                                                  • Figure 48: Staples, “Buy and Save,” July 2012
                                                                                                • Parents’ influences and roles in BTS shopping
                                                                                                  • Strategy: Showing parents how they can win
                                                                                                    • Figure 49: Famous Footwear, “Victory is Yours,” July 2012
                                                                                                    • Figure 50: Famous Footwear, “Victory is Yours,” July 2012
                                                                                                  • Strategy: Getting parents ready for BTS
                                                                                                    • Figure 51: Old Navy, “Cool Dad Jeans,” August 2012
                                                                                                  • Strategy: Reminiscing about the past through music
                                                                                                    • Figure 52: Target, “Experiment,” August 2012
                                                                                                    • Figure 53: Target, “It’s All Happening,” July 2012
                                                                                                    • Figure 54: Target, “Music,” July 2012
                                                                                                  • Others
                                                                                                    • Strategy: Increasing foot traffic through free promotional events
                                                                                                      • Figure 55: JCPenney, “Free Kids’ Haircuts,” August 2012
                                                                                                    • Strategy: Appealing to patriots
                                                                                                      • Figure 56: Crayola, “Made In America,” July 2012
                                                                                                    • Strategy: Extending the idea of BTS shopping beyond the expected items
                                                                                                      • Figure 57: Food Lion, “School’s Back ($3 Off),” August 2012
                                                                                                  • Change in BTS Spending; Fall 2012 vs. Fall 2011

                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                      • Extra spending on apparel, shoes, and other accessories
                                                                                                        • Figure 58: Change in 2011-12 back-to-school spending, by category, October 2012
                                                                                                      • Millennial parents are the big spenders; Boomers are keen to save
                                                                                                        • Figure 59: Change in 2011-12 back-to-school spending, by category, by generation, October 2012
                                                                                                      • Dads more likely than moms to spend on electronics, but little difference in change in spend
                                                                                                        • Figure 60: Change in 2011-12 back-to-school spending, by category, by gender, October 2012
                                                                                                      • Household income variances are linked to BTS expenditure disparities
                                                                                                        • Figure 61: Change in 2011-12 back-to-school spending, by category, by household income, October 2012
                                                                                                      • Regional BTS spending changes
                                                                                                        • Figure 62: Change in 2011-12 back-to-school spending, by category, by region, October 2012
                                                                                                    • Fall 2012 Spending on BTS Categories

                                                                                                      • Overview
                                                                                                        • Figure 63: Amount spent on back-to-school shopping for Fall 2012, by category, October 2012
                                                                                                      • BTS Fall 2012 spending—Apparel/shoes/accessories
                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                          • The apparel sector prevailed during the BTS Fall 2012 shopping
                                                                                                            • Figure 64: Amount spent in Fall 2012 back-to-school apparel/shoes/other accessories shopping, October 2012
                                                                                                          • Unlike Boomers, Gen X splurged the most on children’s apparel
                                                                                                              • Figure 65: Amount spent in Fall 2012 back-to-school apparel/shoes/other accessories shopping, by generation, October 2012
                                                                                                            • Mothers edge fathers in BTS spending on apparel and shoes
                                                                                                              • Figure 66: Amount spent in Fall 2012 back-to-school apparel/shoes/other accessories shopping, by gender, October 2012
                                                                                                            • Fashion consumption improves with income
                                                                                                              • Figure 67: Amount spent in Fall 2012 back-to-school apparel/shoes/other accessories shopping, by household income, October 2012
                                                                                                            • BTS Fall 2012 spending—Electronics
                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                • Four in ten parents spending less than $100 on computers and electronics
                                                                                                                  • Figure 68: Amount spent in Fall 2012 back-to-school electronic products shopping, October 2012
                                                                                                                • Millennial parents spending more on BTS electronics
                                                                                                                  • Figure 69: Amount spent in Fall 2012 back-to-school electronic products shopping, by generation, October 2012
                                                                                                                • Fathers' expenditures on electronic products tend to be higher
                                                                                                                  • Figure 70: Amount spent in Fall 2012 back-to-school electronic products shopping, by gender, October 2012
                                                                                                                • Variances in electronic spending across household income brackets
                                                                                                                  • Figure 71: Amount spent in Fall 2012 back-to-school electronic products shopping, by household income, October 2012
                                                                                                                • BTS Fall 2012 spending—Supplies
                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                    • Average spending on school supplies remained low
                                                                                                                      • Figure 72: Amount spent in Fall 2012 back-to-school supplies shopping, October 2012
                                                                                                                    • Millennial parents splurged the most on school supplies
                                                                                                                      • Figure 73: Amount spent in Fall 2012 back-to-school supplies shopping, by generation, October 2012
                                                                                                                    • Men spent more on school supplies
                                                                                                                      • Figure 74: Amount spent in Fall 2012 back-to-school supplies shopping, by gender, October 2012
                                                                                                                    • Spend on school supplies increases with income
                                                                                                                      • Figure 75: Amount spent in Fall 2012 back-to-school supplies shopping, by household income, October 2012
                                                                                                                  • Attitudes Toward BTS Spending and Saving

                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                      • Providing children with necessary BTS items is important to parents
                                                                                                                        • Figure 76: Attitudes and behaviors toward spending and saving on back-to-school items, October 2012
                                                                                                                      • Generational impact on attitudes to BTS shopping
                                                                                                                        • Figure 77: Attitudes and behaviors toward spending and saving on back-to-school items, by generation, October 2012
                                                                                                                      • Male shoppers prefer buying quality electronics for their children
                                                                                                                        • Figure 78: Attitudes and behaviors toward spending and saving on back-to-school items, by gender, October 2012
                                                                                                                    • BTS Shopping Money-Saving Tactics

                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                        • Shoppers keen to buy BTS items from sales racks and coupons
                                                                                                                            • Figure 79: Money-saving tactics used for back-to-school shopping in Fall 2012, by generation, October 2012
                                                                                                                          • Savvy Millennial shoppers necessitate unique marketing approach
                                                                                                                            • Figure 80: Money-saving tactics used for back-to-school shopping in Fall 2012, by generation, October 2012
                                                                                                                          • Female BTS shoppers keen on saving
                                                                                                                            • Figure 81: Money-saving tactics used for back-to-school shopping in Fall 2012, by gender and age, October 2012
                                                                                                                          • Price is a main consideration, even for the wealthiest
                                                                                                                            • Figure 82: Money-saving tactics used for back-to-school shopping in Fall 2012, by household income, October 2012
                                                                                                                          • Elementary school parents tend to compare prices online
                                                                                                                            • Figure 83: Money-saving tactics used for back-to-school shopping in Fall 2012, by level of school, October 2012
                                                                                                                        • Hispanics vs. Non-Hispanics

                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                            • BTS money-saving tactics among Hispanics who mainly use online research
                                                                                                                              • Figure 84: Money-saving tactics used for back-to-school shopping in Fall 2012, by Hispanic origin, October 2012
                                                                                                                            • Hispanic shoppers shop for quality electronics for their school children
                                                                                                                              • Figure 85: Attitudes and behaviors toward spending and saving on back-to-school items, by Hispanic origin, October 2012
                                                                                                                          • Key Driver Analysis

                                                                                                                              • Apparel, shoes, and other accessories
                                                                                                                                • Figure 86: Key driver analysis of amount spent on apparel, shoes, and other accessories, October 2012
                                                                                                                              • Supplies (e.g., pens, pencils, notebooks, backpacks, etc.)
                                                                                                                                • Figure 87: Key driver analysis of amount spent on supplies (e.g., pens, pencils, notebooks, backpacks, etc.), October 2012
                                                                                                                              • Electronic products (e.g., PC, laptops, tablets, etc.)
                                                                                                                                • Figure 88: Key driver analysis of amount spent on electronic products (e.g., PC, laptops, tablets, etc.), October 2012
                                                                                                                              • Methodology
                                                                                                                              • Appendix: Other Useful Consumer Tables

                                                                                                                                • Spend on, and change in spend on BTS shopping
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 89: Change in 2011-12 back-to-school spending, by category, by Hispanic origin, October 2012
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 90: Amount spent in Fall 2012 back-to-school apparel/shoes/other accessories shopping, by region, October 2012
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 91: Amount spent in Fall 2012 back-to-school apparel/shoes/other accessories shopping, by Hispanic origin, October 2012
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 92: Amount spent in Fall 2012 back-to-school electronic products shopping, by region, October 2012
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 93: Amount spent in Fall 2012 back-to-school electronic products shopping, by Hispanic origin, October 2012
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 94: Amount spent in Fall 2012 back-to-school supplies shopping, by region, October 2012
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 95: Amount spent in Fall 2012 back-to-school supplies shopping, by Hispanic origin, October 2012
                                                                                                                                • Attitudes and behaviors toward BTS shopping
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 96: Attitudes and behaviors toward spending and saving on back-to-school items, by employment, October 2012
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 97: Attitudes and behaviors toward spending and saving on back-to-school items, by marital status, October 2012
                                                                                                                                • Money saving tactics used for BTS shopping, and use of tax holidays
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 98: Money-saving tactics used for back-to-school shopping in Fall 2012, by region, October 2012
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 99: Money-saving tactics used for back-to-school shopping in Fall 2012, by marital status, October 2012
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 100: Money-saving tactics used for back-to-school shopping in Fall 2012, by employment, October 2012
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 101: Use of back-to-school sales tax holiday in Fall 2012, by marital status, October 2012
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 102: Use of back-to-school sales tax holiday in Fall 2012, by employment status, October 2012
                                                                                                                                • Retailers and channels shopped for BTS shopping
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 103: Retailers and channels shopped for back-to-school supplies, by Hispanic origin, October 2012
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 104: Retailers and channels shopped for back-to-school electronics, by Hispanic origin, October 2012
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 105: Retailers and channels shopped for back-to-school apparel/shoes/accessories, by Hispanic origin, October 2012
                                                                                                                              • Appendix: Survey Demographics—Schoolchildren in Household

                                                                                                                                  • Figure 106: K-12 school-age children living in parents’ households, by generation, October 2012
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 107: K-12 school-age children living in households, by gender, October 2012
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 108: K-12 school-age children living in households, by household income, October 2012
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 109: K-12 school-age children living in households, by marital/relationship status, October 2012
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 110: K-12 school-age children living in households, by region, October 2012
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 111: K-12 school-age children living in households, by Hispanic origin, October 2012
                                                                                                                              • Appendix: Trade Associations

                                                                                                                                Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                • Abercrombie & Fitch Co
                                                                                                                                • Amazon North America
                                                                                                                                • Apple, Inc
                                                                                                                                • AT&T Inc.
                                                                                                                                • Best Buy stores (USA)
                                                                                                                                • BJ's Wholesale Club, Inc
                                                                                                                                • Bloomberg L.P.
                                                                                                                                • Bloomingdale's
                                                                                                                                • Costco Wholesale Corporation
                                                                                                                                • Crayola LLC
                                                                                                                                • CVS Caremark Corporation
                                                                                                                                • Dollar General Corporation
                                                                                                                                • Facebook, Inc.
                                                                                                                                • Family Dollar Stores, Inc
                                                                                                                                • Famous Footwear
                                                                                                                                • Food Lion
                                                                                                                                • Gallup Organization, The
                                                                                                                                • Gap (USA)
                                                                                                                                • Groupon, Inc.
                                                                                                                                • H&M Hennes & Mauritz
                                                                                                                                • J C Penney Company, Inc
                                                                                                                                • Kmart Corporation
                                                                                                                                • Kohl's Corporation
                                                                                                                                • LivingSocial
                                                                                                                                • Lord & Taylor
                                                                                                                                • MasterCard Incorporated
                                                                                                                                • National Retail Federation (NRF)
                                                                                                                                • News Corporation (The)
                                                                                                                                • Nike
                                                                                                                                • Nordstrom
                                                                                                                                • Office Depot (North America Retail)
                                                                                                                                • OfficeMax, Inc
                                                                                                                                • Old Navy
                                                                                                                                • Overstock.com Inc.
                                                                                                                                • Procter & Gamble USA
                                                                                                                                • RadioShack Corporation
                                                                                                                                • SAM's Club
                                                                                                                                • Sears Holdings Corporation
                                                                                                                                • Staples, Inc
                                                                                                                                • Target Corporation
                                                                                                                                • The New York Times Company
                                                                                                                                • The Sports Authority Inc
                                                                                                                                • TJX International (TK Maxx Europe)
                                                                                                                                • Toshiba Corporation (USA)
                                                                                                                                • Twitter, Inc.
                                                                                                                                • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
                                                                                                                                • U.S. Bureau of the Census
                                                                                                                                • U.S. News & World Report, L.P.
                                                                                                                                • University of Michigan, The
                                                                                                                                • Vera Wang
                                                                                                                                • Walgreen Co
                                                                                                                                • Walmart Stores (USA)
                                                                                                                                • YouTube, Inc.

                                                                                                                                Back-to-School Shopping - US - January 2013

                                                                                                                                £3,174.67 (Excl.Tax)