Back-​to-​School Sales to Increase 7.5%

BY Rachel Cagle
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As much as we wish that summer could stay forever, kids will be back in school before we know it. Retailers are already preparing for this year’s back-​to-​school season. And it’s going to be a big one.

2022 Back-​to-​School Retail Sales Forecast

According to a press release from MasterCard, back-​to-​school retail sales in the U.S. are estimated to increase by 7.5% compared to the 2021 season. The back-​to-​school shopping period takes place from mid-​July through Labor Day in the U.S. It’s also, “The second biggest season for retailers and is often looked at as an early indicator of retail momentum ahead of the traditional holiday season,” says MasterCard’s senior advisor, Steve Sadove.

Where Shopping Will Take Place

Retail sales are expected to grow across all channels this back-​to-​school season. In-​store sales are expected to grow by 8.2%, and e‑commerce sales will increase by 4.3%.

What Shoppers Will be Buying

The product sectors that are estimated to see the most year-​over-​year growth this season, according to MasterCard, are:

  • Electronics and Appliances: Expected to grow by 17.6% this year compared to 2021
  • Apparel: 15.9%

According to AudienceSCAN on AdMall by SalesFuel, Back-​to-​School Shoppers make up 32.6% of U.S. consumers over the age of 18. In addition to apparel and electronics and appliances (in general), this year, they also plan to purchase:

  • Body Spray or Cologne: 26.4% of this audience plans to do so
  • Smartphones or Smartphone Upgrades: 25.7%
  • Cosmetics and Skin Care Products: 24.6%
  • Laptops or Desktop Computers: 19.5%
  • Jewelry: 17.3%

You can also look up potential back-​to-​school shoppers based on their children’s ages, as well as anticipated spending by grandparents, on AudienceSCAN.

Trends to Keep in Mind

Promoting the In-​Store Experience

Retailers should promote the back-​to-​school shopping season as an experience for guardians and students. As consumers continue to return to their pre-​pandemic shopping habits, they could use a little push. "From needing to try on new sizes to wanting to browse the latest fashions in person,” MasterCard recommends promoting the benefits of shopping in physical stores, as well as online. Overall, in-​person retail shopping is expected to increase by 8.2% this season.

The Convenience of Department Stores

Department stores have a major offering for back-​to-​school season that other stores don’t: one-​stop shopping. With gas prices as high as they are, your department store clients can promote all the benefits of in-​store shopping with gas savings this season. Overall, MasterCard estimates that department store sales will increase by 13% year-over-year.

Increased Social Events

Americans already lost around two years of their social lives to COVID-​19. They’re not about to lose any more. So, they’re making up for lost time with the number of social events they’re hosting and attending. More events means purchasing more outfits. “With weddings, events and vacations lined up for the foreseeable future, the demand for apparel both in-​store and online sees no signs of slowing, forecasted to be up 8.7% YOY/15.9% YO3Y,” reports MasterCard. Your retail clients should advertise their broad array of apparel for all occasions this back-​to-​school season as parents, grandparents and guardians in general plan for the year ahead of their families.

How to Advertise to Back-​to-​School Shoppers

With MasterCard forecasting that back-​to-​school shopping will consist of a healthy mix of online and in-​store shopping, your client’s advertising strategies should cover both traditional and digital ads. Check out the Back-​to-​School Shoppers and other relevant consumers audiences on AudienceSCAN on AdMall by SalesFuel to discover which types of ads have influenced the largest percentages of these audiences to take action within the last year. For example, did you know that Back-​to-​School Shoppers are 65% more likely than other consumers to take action after seeing ads in movie theaters?

Photo by CDC