For many retailers, back-to-school means big business.
According to the National Retail Federation, back-to-school shopping was a $75.8 billion business in 2016. The 2017 forecast calls for even more growth, with projected revenues reaching $83 billion. In fact, the August shopping period is the second biggest shopping “holiday” in the United States, beat only by the winter holiday rush.
But while sales numbers have held steady, the habits of back-to-school shoppers have undergone some significant shifts: for the 77% of American families buying school supplies every August, the free shipping offered by many ecommerce retailers has become a big draw. While families are already spending an average of $500 to $1,000 on supplies for their children, 84% of them won’t order without free shipping. Another interesting trend: while back-to-school shopping usually brings pencils and notebooks to mind, spending on clothes has been greater in recent years — a trend that IBIS World predicts will continue in 2017.