Back-to-School is Big Business Worth Advertising

This year, the average family will spend $600 per child to send them back to school.  This doesn’t mean they’re going to private schools, which would be a completely different subject.  This is what it costs parents for clothes and school supplies in the US.  So without making this a political comment on public education in our country, let’s look at this from the standpoint of the land-of-opportunity.

Like any other thing that consumers buy, school clothes can vary tremendously in cost.  For some, it is important to buy based on price.  For others, having trendy attire is their highest priority.  But the bottom line for marketers, who should look at these young people from a psychographic standpoint as opposed to just considering their ages in how they’re approached, is that in 2014 there are 49.6 million children headed to the classroom this fall in America. This represents $29,760,000,000 in purchasing power in a very short period of time. 

Let’s think about what back-to-school encompasses these days:

  • Clothes, probably both warm season because starting dates are early, but also cold season clothes because last year’s are outgrown or worn out.
  • Shoes – school shoes and athletic shoes for a variety of sports and activities
  • Lunch boxes – probably with insulation and cooler packs
  • Notebooks – yes, they still use some paper
  • Computers – this category could include laptops and tablets
  • Phones – children have these for “security reasons” at younger and younger ages
  • Supplies – pencils, papers, colors – many teachers give long lists of what is required
  • Cars – high schoolers may not get public transportation, and while not all kids get a car, they do have to get to school some way
  • Linens – don’t forget about those additional students who are starting college and going away to experience their first time living on their own.  Linens are just the start.

Ok, this list isn’t exhaustive, but the best time to get noticed with your marketing is when you have a population who is definitely focused on “needs” like what you sell.  Don’t use this as a time to cut prices.  Use this as a time for promotion of the value of your products.  Try promotions that give students something that is exactly what they want to accompany exactly what they need.  Make the back-to-school shopping experience something special.  These are not only today’s big consumers.  They are also the future consumers of larger, more expensive items.  Start working on their loyalty now.

And don’t forget, these kids eat a lot.  Make healthy foods fun, and fast foods convenient.  But feed them something that they’ll eat (even if it’s healthy) for three meals every day.  Perhaps focus on breakfast and lunch for back-to-school, but remember that parents are busy at this time of year too, so making dinner something that is easy and popular is a win-win.

Now go and enjoy fall.  It can be the best time of the year! And we wish you a good back-to-school season in 2014.


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