Back To School Shopping [Report]

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As the holiday season winds down, post-Christmas sales are in full swing with research, conducted by Roy Morgan in association with Australian Retailers Association (ARA), predicting that Aussie shoppers will spend $17.2 billion from 26 December to 15 January.

According to the ARA chief Russell Zimmerman, the research is indicative of shopper focus on back to school sales.
Zimmerman says that retailers selling clothing, footwear, stationery and technology will see a big sales boost as back to school draws near and parents stock up on back to school essentials.
Field Agent wanted to understand the back-to-school mindset a little deeper, so we surveyed 400 Australian parents with school aged children on all things ‘Back To School’ (BTS).
Let this research help your brand/s make the grade with Back To School shoppers in 2017.

Back To School Budget Pressure

Our study of 400 households suggests most families are anticipating spending more (44%) or about the same (35%) on back-to-school in 2017. Only 9% will spend less.
The whopping 78% of parents surveyed agreed BTS is a strain on their household budgets.

Stocking up for Back To School

Predictably, uniforms (83%), basic school supplies (82%), and footwear (91%) top the list of general BTS merchandise purchases. However, half (or more) of all households surveyed said they’re planning on making purchases in all nine categories presented, suggesting BTS has important implications for brands across many categories. Some, including athletic equipment, electronic, are more vulnerable to the influence of age (i.e., grade-level) than others.

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Influences on Back To School

Make the list = make the sale

Many households follow a school-furnished list either “very closely” (35%) or “fairly closely” (33%) when shopping for BTS supplies. In all, 93% will follow their school’s list at least a little. Specific brand name mentions have some influence over shoppers’ choices, with 38% calling them moderately influential and 34% calling them “extremely” or “very” influential.

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How Brands Can Make The Grade

Top Shopping Priorities Amongst BTS Mums 

What really matters when shopping inside stores for BTS supplies? 76% made Quality a #1 or #2 priority and Price was also #1 or #2 priority for 76% of shoppers. Factors such as brand name or loyalty ranked the lowest priority at 65% and 66% respectively.

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Kids Call The Shots

Influence of children on BTS purchases

“But MUM!” You can hear the kids’ cries already. To what extent do the users of BTS purchases, the kids, influence the shoppers (mums and dads)? Kids wield considerable influence it seems over clothing/footwear and even the contents of packed lunches.

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Back To School Shopping Destinations

Preferred retailers for BTS Supplies

At 70%, Kmart sits high atop the retail mountain for selling school supplies, with Officeworks (62%) and Big W (52%) not far behind. On the question of who sells the most back-to-school clothing, aside from specialised uniform shops which take the biggest slice of the pie at 71%, 41% are getting their school clothing basics from Kmart and Target is a close second choice (38%). Of course, BTS is a big pie and many retailers enjoy a slice. 62% told us they will visit 2-3 stores to purchase school supplies.

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Role of Online Retailers for BTS Shoppers

Households do shop online for BTS supplies; they just don’t shop online a great deal with 38% not looking online at all. 62% say they are likely to purchase some school supplies from the Internet. As for the threads, 62% surveyed say they “not at all likely” to purchase BTS clothing and footwear online, and only 20% saying they are either “completely, very or moderately likely” to purchase clothing or footwear online. It seems most want their children to be able to try on clothing and footwear for the best fit prior to the school year.

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Inside That Brown Bag

Content Of Packed Lunches

Here’s an important question for food and beverage companies: What’s in the packed lunch? The focus on a healthy packed lunch is emphasised throughout most Australian schools, so it’s encouraging to see fruit, water and sandwiches as the most popular lunch box options, with a much smaller percentage of households including non-nutritious snacks such as soft drinks and lollies. For more than half of household surveyed (52%), shopping for packed lunch contents is a weekly affair, while 40% visit stores two or more times a week to supply their kids’ packed lunches.

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Snack Attack

Sometimes, the lunchbox contents fall short, or maybe the household ran out of time to pack an adequate lunch for the children. For those quick before and after-school meals, more than half listed Coles (26%) and Woolworths (25%) as the best quick option to hit the spot. McDonalds (10%) was slightly more popular than ALDI (7%).

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Frustrations with BTS shopping

Navigating the shops with a long list can be frustrating enough, but add to that the combination of not finding what you need, high prices or crowds and you have a recipe for annoyed shoppers. A whopping 53% said that out-of-stock products are one of the most frustrating parts of BTS shopping.

What Kids Have To Say

While most kids are excited and looking forward to starting or returning to school, there are also still nerves for some.


School The Competition This Year

Which brands will win Back To School 2017? Simple. Those that prepare and execute the best.
Mobile Audits & Research combine to offer companies a fast, affordable and simple way to learn about back-to-school shoppers and ensure BTS plans are properly executed inside stores.
So make the grade this back-to-school shopping season. Look to Mobile Audits & Research.

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