Is It Too Soon for Retailers to Go Back to School?
Here in New Jersey, thanks to Sandy, it has been only a couple of weeks since many school districts finished their academic years. But that hasn’t had any effect on retailers’ ad plans as many have already begun their back-to-school (BTS) campaigns. Retailers looking to get an early start on a key selling period is nothing new, but the question becomes, how soon is too soon?
"In seven and a half years, I’ve never once seen so much emphasis put on back-to-school before July 4," Kathy Grannis, a spokesperson for the National Retail Federation (NRF), told Advertising Age.
The BTS season is the second biggest shopping season of the year, according to research conducted by BIGinsight for NRF. Sales are projected to grow to $83.8 billion this year even as 77 percent (down from 80 percent inn 2012) of consumers say the economy will have an effect on what they purchase this year.
Not everyone was as quick to advertise their deals for BTS. A report on The Consumerist website pointed to the message on Amazon.com’s landing page before July 4, which read, "Shopping for back-to-school supplies already? We hate to tell you… you’re early." The message is now down.
A RetailWire poll last July found that 43 percent thought mid-July was the ideal time for retailers to start their BTS push while 28 percent thought August was when merchants should get started. Twenty-one percent thought July 4 was the date marker to begin promoting BTS.
- Parents preparing their back-to-school budgets with caution – National Retail Federation
- Back-to-School Ad Campaigns Start Jarringly Early as Marketers Seek Tight Budgets – Advertising Age (tiered sub.)
- National Retail Federation Confirms Existence of Back-To-School Creep – The Consumerist
- Back-to-School Starts Early – RetailWire
Has back-to-school shopping changed in recent years?
Do retailers that begin promoting back-to-school before July 4 have an advantage over those who wait until later?