The summer is the 2nd busiest time of the year for retail with 17.2% of the entire year’s retail sales occurring in just a few short weeks. With the holiday season soon to follow, a lot of retailers can get overwhelmed and miss out on some key opportunities during this important season.

To help focus in on what’s most important, we’ve assembled this list of 17 impressive stats, along with some tips to help guide your back-to-school planning this year.

1) August accounts for 40% of back-to-school shopping

August is clearly the biggest month for back-to-school shopping, but…


2) 57% of shoppers will begin shopping before August

While most retailers concentrate their efforts in August, it’s actually the months leading up to August that account for the majority of back-to-school shopping. With June and July accounting for 45% of total spend, it’s important to start your back-to-school campaigns as early as possible. Or, if you’re running behind, to raise your digital marketing spends sooner rather than later.


3) 60% of consumers expect to browse and shop for back-to-school products from a mobile device

It’s no secret that mobile is slowly taking over nearly all aspects of retail. This is particularly important to the back-to-school audience because unlike the holiday season, which experiences lift in a variety of age ranges, back-to-school is unique in that it targets younger demographics. Younger shoppers, unsurprisingly, are incredibly heavy mobile users, so it’s important to make your back-to-school retail efforts mobile friendly.


4) 92% of parents use mobile devices during back-to-school shopping

That’s right, nearly every parent nowadays uses mobile to help with their back-to-school shopping. Here’s exactly how they’re using mobile:


5) 69% use mobile to research products

6) 48% use mobile to buy products

7) 41% use mobile to price compare in-store

8) 37% use mobile to look for coupons in-store


9) 3.5x more money is spent by consumers coming from an omni-channel experience

Before you throw all your digital ad spend into mobile advertising, however, it’s important to recognize that shoppers are no longer siloed into one experience or another. It’s incredibly important to connect all your back-to-school digital marketing efforts to create one seamless experience for your customers.


10) 25% of parents said social media will influence their purchasing decisions

Another tool in your digital marketing toolkit this back-to-school season should be a strong social media presence. Parents are turning to social media for a variety of reasons, but the most common reason is…


11) The #1 reason parents use social media is to find out about promotions

If you’re wondering how to best use of your social media channels this back-to-school season, here it is. 67% of parents said they will use social media to find promotions. Running promotions and discounts on social media works particularly well because people are very likely to share discounts with their friends.


12) Social generated a 56% year-over-year increase in conversions in Q3

Retailers are getting savvier with their social media campaigns and seeing strong returns as a result. As retargeting and attribution tools have quickly evolved, they’ve made social media a much better platform for digital marketers.


13) Shoppers starting before August will spend 26% more than those beginning in August

Getting your marketing efforts geared up early can have a compounding effect on your bottom line since shoppers who spend early tend to spend more.


14) Products that can be used outside of the classroom were purchased more often in September

Getting your digital ad spending window correct is simple, but crucial to maximizing sales. Rather than stopping your ad spends when school starts, you should consider tapering off ad spending over a longer period of time. Both jeans and tablets saw 35% of their back-to-school sales during September in 2014 and 2015.


15) 37% more money is spent when dads are in charge of back-to-school shopping

Consider who you’re targeting with your Prospecting and Retargeting campaigns. While the traditional assumption is that moms are in charge of back-to-school shopping, targeting dads can lead to a significant amount more sales if done right.


16) 67% are influenced more by the school’s recommended product list than by the student’s preference

Another audience you should consider targeting are PTAs and staff that work at schools. Getting on the recommended gear list can yield sales at a larger scale than targeting parents one by one. When setting up your digital campaigns, get creative with how you segment your audience.


17) 54% of surveyed advertisers said they believe consumer spending will increase year over year, with 12% believing consumers will spend considerably more.

While most parents (85%) claim that their budgets will remain the same or decrease, historical data shows that this isn’t the case. Back-to-school shopping has grown year over year and most advertisers agree that it will continue to do so. This year it is estimated that an additional $8.68 billion dollars will be spent on back-to-school shopping.


It’s clear that back-to-school shopping is an incredibly important time of the year for retailers. Starting early and retargeting strategically can yield strong sales for retailers and provide that much needed boost in revenue before the holiday season begins. If you’d like to get more back-to-school trends and stats, check out our back-to-school infographic.