A.T. Kearney Back-to-School Consumer Shopping Survey Provides Retailers with Omnichannel Focus

CHICAGO, Aug. 22, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — A new report by A.T. Kearney, Back-to-School Consumer Shopping Perspectives, looks at US adults planning to make back-to-school purchases, along with key economic factors that would serve as predictors for consumer spending. It provides retailers with areas on which to focus and strategies to capture sales and profits during the forthcoming back-to-school season.

Ryan Fisher, A.T. Kearney Retail Practice partner and co-author of the report, stated, “We expect back-to-school spending to be higher this season reflecting the positive macroeconomic trends. In addition, we expect to see mobile payments and online sales continuing to grow. Millennials coming into their parenting years are increasingly engaged in the back-to-school season as well, evidenced by a 4 percent bump in online-only shopping experiences since last year. It is more important than ever for retailers to up their omnichannel game.”

The study, which surveyed more than 1,000 adult shoppers, found that, in aggregate, consumers plan to spend more than last year at all levels save post-secondary. In addition, consumers are becoming increasingly demanding as they expect better shopping experiences and lower costs, with free expedited shipping offers and the rewards of loyalty programs. Compared to 2016, the importance of these four categories increased between 2 percent and 5 percent.

To successfully navigate the 2017 back-to-school season, the study suggests retailers need to recognize that omnichannel is the new normal, and that Millennials and their mobile shopping habits are increasingly influencing back-to-school shopping behavior. With a 15 percent year-over-year increase in e-commerce traffic, retailers need to ensure that their mobile, web, tablet, and social media experience is on par with the market. Simultaneously, they need to focus on providing a unique and personalized in-store experience, facilitated by in-store technology.

“This study, now in its third year, continues to show a trend toward increasing mobile and online shopping,” remarked Ryan Fisher. “Retailers should be poised to take advantage of the increase in expected spend. Overall, the back-to-school season should be good news for retailers who have been making omnichannel and especially mobile investments; and is perhaps a wakeup call to those who continue to tread in more traditional footsteps.”

About the Study

A.T. Kearney conducted the Back-to-School Consumer Shopping Perspectives survey among 1,000 US adults (18+) who intended to make back-to-school purchases in 2017. The authors structured the 16 survey questions to measure respondents’ expectations for this year’s back-to-school shopping season.Responses were weighted to normalize the aggregate sample to household income and age distributions of the overall population in the US. A.T. Kearney conducted the survey between June 26 and June 28, 2017.

About A.T. Kearney

A.T. Kearney is a leading global management consulting firm with offices in more than 40 countries. Since 1926, we have been trusted advisors to the world’s foremost organizations. A.T. Kearney is a partner-owned firm, committed to helping clients achieve immediate impact and growing advantage on their most mission-critical issues. For more information, visit www.atkearney.com.

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