Back-to-School Shopping to Grow 4 Percent in 2017

US retail sales during the back-to-school shopping season of July and August 2017 will grow 4 percent over 2016.

NEW YORK, NY (June 13, 2017) - The school year is just now ending with summer around the corner, and yet retailers are already thinking about back-to-school shopping.  US retail sales during the back-to-school shopping season of July and August 2017 will grow 4 percent over 2016, according to eMarketer’s latest forecast. Last year set a record for back-to-school season sales, but 2017 will be even better. US retail sales during those core months will reach $857.18 billion, comprising 17 percent of total retail sales for the year. Ecommerce for the back-to-school season will grow 14.8 percent to $74.03 billion in 2017. That represents 8.6 percent of total retail sales (online and offline) for the period, larger than the 7.8 percent share last year.

“Ecommerce growth this year comes on top of a strong year last year, making it that much more impressive,” said eMarketer senior analyst Yory Wurmser. “Younger consumers that shop in preparation for going back to high school and college actually prefer shopping online, so ecommerce growth should continue for the foreseeable future.”

Five product areas play an outsized role during the back-to-school season: apparel and accessories; books, music and video; computers and consumer electronics; office equipment and supplies; toys and hobbies, including sporting goods. Back-to-school ecommerce sales in these core categories during July and August will exceed the quarterly growth rate for ecommerce overall at 15.8 percent, reaching $37.56 billion. It will also be in marked contrast to the poor growth numbers of brick-and-mortar stores in these core areas.

“Several core product areas are among the sectors with the highest ecommerce penetration,” said Wurmser. “Even apparel, which traditionally has been bought in stores, is increasingly moving online.” eMarketer excludes home goods from its definition of core back-to-school product categories despite the big role that dorm shopping plays in back-to-school. Although important, home goods do not see a significant bump in sales during the back-to-school season relative to other parts of the year.

GDA Staff | News & Commentary

Lenise Willis, editor in chief; Anne-Marie Earl, managing editor; Cammie Collier, art director; and Brianna Glenn, assistant editor, love reviewing new products for Gifts and Decorative Accessories . The team stays on top of the latest trends in bath and body, candles, gourmet items, stationery, home décor, fashion and more, and love chatting about their latest finds. Check in each week for more of their latest picks on GiftRap, and see more of the team on their new bi-weekly video series, Thoughts That Count.

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