Skip to main content

Study: Mobile, social media promotions top back-to-school investments


Besides exceeding their 2016 efforts, retailers’ back-to-school marketing investments are going digital this year.

This was according to the “2017 Retailer and Consumer Back-to-School Insights Guide,” a report from RetailMeNot. The study, which was conducted June 6-12, tapped 1,000 U.S. consumers aged 18 and over about their back-to-school spending and deal-seeking goals.

According to the study, 85% plan to invest more in their back-to-school marketing efforts this year compared to 2016. At the top of their list of investments, 89% of retailers will increase their marketing spend on mobile, and 88% plan to increase social media spending. Meanwhile, 70% of retailers will issue mobile offers through a partner platform.

These efforts respond to shoppers’ demand for a seamless, integrated shopping experience. Yet, nearly 1 in 10 retailers indicated they do not have an omnichannel promotional plan for this season.

"Discounts and deals are incredibly important this time of year to both retailers and shoppers,” said Marissa Tarleton, chief marketing officer, RetailMeNot. “Parents want to maximize their spending power and are increasingly turning to mobile as part of their shopping journey.”

With 63% of parents reporting they will spend more than $100 per person on back-to-school shopping, and 33% spending more than $250, it is not surprising that BTS shoppers are looking for deals. In fact, 36% of parents agree they look for more savings during back-to-school than any other time of the year. Nearly half of shoppers (49%) say price is the biggest determining factor in what they buy, and 70% of RetailMeNot users are anticipated to look for deals on their mobile device.

The shopping journey also isn't limited to just one channel this season. More than half of shoppers (54%) surveyed do the majority of their back-to-school shopping in a physical retail location, and nearly 1 in 3 (28%) always search for items online before going in store.

"For retail marketers, the opportunity to capitalize on omnichannel offers is more important than ever to reach consumers online, on mobile and in store,” Tarleton said. “Consumers are seeking discounts, and it's imperative that retailers and brands meet them where they are with compelling content."

Consumers are likely to do the bulk of their spending in August, and the top shopping day is expected to be August 5. While other top shopping days will occur in the first two weeks of August, the number two biggest back-to-school shopping day is predicted to be on Labor Day, September 4, according to data.

The back-to-school shopping time frame is the longest shopping season in the U.S., lasting nearly three months. The highest level of consumer engagement with back-to-school content on RetailMeNot happens between July 9 and September 9.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds