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How-to-Prepare-Your-Brand-for-the-Profitable-Back-to-School-Season-in-2023

Once again, the excitement of the back-to-school season has enveloped the United States, capturing the attention of both retailers and consumers. Amidst one of the most impactful shopping periods of the year, Actowiz Solutions has observed notable shifts in shopping patterns and consumer habits. As this season unfolds, distinct trends and shifts in consumer behavior have come to light.

As per Deloitte's 2023 back-to-school survey, 18 months of inflation has left a significant imprint on parents' spending habits. After grappling with elevated prices in the aftermath of last year's pandemic, parents are now displaying a heightened sensitivity to prices and reassessing their shopping strategies. Let's explore these pivotal trends and statistics shaping the landscape of back-to-school retail behavior in the United States in 2023.

Shifting Spending Priorities

In 2023, parents across various income brackets are revising their back-to-school shopping budgets to reduce expenditures. Escalating costs have placed financial strains on budgets, compelling consumers to rethink their spending preferences. As inflation rates rise, families focus on safeguarding their savings and allotting a more significant portion of their budget to experiential activities like leisure travel. Experts project a year-over-year drop of 10% in total spending due to this altered outlook. This change in priorities is exerting an influence on spending choices during the back-to-school shopping period.

Despite the general decline in overall spending, the National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts that back-to-college and back-to-school shopping will achieve record levels in 2023. Given that the prices of school supplies have surged by 23.7% over the past two years, the demand for economic options has intensified. The realm of value and discount retail has witnessed significant growth this year, driven by families actively seeking out deals and markdowns. Retail data collection further reveals the trends shaping this landscape and informs strategic decisions for businesses. Notably, discount and dollar stores have reported a substantial 25% upswing in sales compared to the previous year's back-to-school season. Consumers are poised to allocate significant funds for this shopping season, implying that while parents might exercise caution in their spending, the broader retail market is still poised to experience noteworthy activity.

The Influence of Online Shopping

While physical stores for back-to-school shopping retain their popularity, the dominance of online retail is undeniable. With a notable 15% upswing in online sales compared to the same period in 2022, the allure of convenience and swift price comparison is swaying many shoppers.

Additionally, search data underscores a growing trend of consumers initiating their back-to-school shopping earlier than ever. Sales are witnessing a substantial uptick as early as late June. This early shopping trend suggests that parents adopt a more proactive stance to ensure their children are well-prepared for the upcoming school year. This shift could be attributed to uncertainties arising from the pandemic and concerns regarding supply chains.

As families gear up for the approaching academic year, the demand for indispensable school supplies such as textbooks, notebooks, stationery, and backpacks naturally experiences a surge. However, this year's most remarkable spike in sales has been observed in the technology category. With digital learning still a significant factor, sales of laptops, tablets, and related tech accessories have surged by 20% compared to the previous year. This trend further underscores the amalgamation of traditional and digital learning environments.

Influence of Social Media on Shopping Habits

Social media has recently emerged as a potent force shaping consumer shopping behaviors. A survey conducted in 2022 revealed that approximately 35% of parents intended to leverage social media platforms to aid them in their back-to-school shopping endeavors. This trend underscores the expanding role of social media channels in facilitating product discovery, accessing deals, and garnering recommendations during the back-to-school period. Moreover, these platforms showcase burgeoning trends and novel brands, enabling parents and students to explore diverse product categories. An example is the rapid growth of the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) market, extending its influence to the back-to-school arena. Increasingly, parents seek STEM-related products like educational toys and games for their children.

In the year 2023, sustainability transcends being a mere trend; it has evolved into a resolute consumer priority. This transformation is palpable in the notable surge of sales in the realm of eco-friendly school supplies. Biodegradable pens, recycled notebooks, pencils, and sustainable backpacks have all experienced a significant 30% increase in sales. This undeniable trend underscores the clear and growing consumer appetite for products that prioritize reducing their ecological footprint.

Strategies for Success for US eCommerce Players

US eCommerce businesses must tailor their strategies to cater to cost-conscious consumers in the evolving landscape. Offering compelling deals, discounts, and promotions will capture shoppers' attention during the back-to-school season. Leveraging the Pricing capabilities of the Actowiz Solutions can empower these players to provide the most competitive pricing while optimizing their margins. Utilizing social media platforms for marketing campaigns and engaging with potential customers will confer a competitive advantage in this fierce market.

While parents concentrate on restocking school essentials, eCommerce players can deliver value by presenting curated bundles and enticing deals on vital items. Prioritizing convenience, swift shipping, and seamless website experiences will amplify customer satisfaction and foster loyalty. Despite the surge in online shopping, customers still value an omnichannel shopping journey. The rise in demand for services like Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store (BOPIS), and curbside pickups underscores the consumer preference for the convenience of online shopping paired with the immediacy of physical retail.

The back-to-school market in 2023 offers a blend of challenges and opportunities for US eCommerce entities. By comprehending consumer sentiments and leveraging retailers' intelligence to align their offerings accordingly, businesses can adeptly navigate this distinct landscape and emerge triumphant.

Conclusion

The current back-to-school season underscores the ongoing evolution of consumer behavior in response to broader socio-economic influences. From the uptick in technology sales to the amplified demand for sustainable products, the trends of 2023 offer valuable lessons for retailers in their preparations for upcoming seasons.

In this ever-changing landscape, it's clear that successful retailers are those who comprehend and swiftly adapt to these shifting trends. They deliver consumers a seamless shopping experience, whether within physical stores, online platforms, or a combination of both. Actowiz Solutions remains committed to tracking these trends, furnishing you with the necessary data and insights to maintain a competitive edge. To delve deeper into optimizing your eCommerce stores for modern retail, schedule a meeting with us today! Our expertise extends beyond the surface, encompassing a wide range of solutions including eCommerce data scraping services. You can also reach us for all your mobile app scraping, instant data scraper and web scraping service requirements.

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