As students are getting ready to move back to campus, rising consumer confidence has become a trending market. There is a huge spending potential for the back to school market, however, most luxury brands have not been focusing their efforts towards this audience.
“There are two main drivers of this trend: the growth of ecommerce and the on-trend influencer marketing space,” says Naomi Davidowitz, Chief Customer officer at Crowdtap. “Both have converged at the right time for back-to-school shoppers. Parents and empowered kids are consuming content and are influenced at all hours of the day with check out now options only one click away.”
In-store visits to mass retailers are also on the rise, with parents and students more involved in back-to-school decision making. The back-to-school experience is becoming an annual tradition for both parties.
“With this all said, luxury brands should take advantage of the experiential shopper and offer customization every step of the way, from the niche influencer targeting their consumer’s passions to offering their shoppers custom options that will help them stand out with among their peers. Brands should be testing every preference, option, assumption – a robust combination like that needs to be backed by data,” says Davidowitz.
According to the NRF, back-to-school shopping is predicted to rise by 10% from last year, to $83.6 billion. Apparel and accessories are only a portion of total spend, but numbers are anticipated to be $10.2 billion, with an average of $239 on attire. Department stores are the most popular destination, with 57% of shoppers heading to physical stores. Ecommerce comes in a close second with 46%. According to Deloitte’s 2017 back-to-school survey, online channels are a valuable influencer to purchase, with research conducted online through searches and customer reviews.
As digital channels are a major resource for luxury brands, some such as Gucci, Neiman Marcus and Oscar de la Renta, are already reaching out to shoppers via digital campaigns spanning email, online catalogs and social media.
Aside from digital channels, word of mouth and in-store displays are other strategies that can highly influence college customers. Many students are looking to wrap up their shopping lists at the end of August, according to the NRF.
While the stereotype of college students may be perceived that they don’t have much money to spare for luxury items, this does not always hold true and should not stop luxury brands from tapping into the back to school market. According to a report from InMarket, the majority of customers who are starting college or are still in college, have grown up with social media, coloring their perception of how luxury can be utilized to present a certain lifestyle.