2 Sep 2020
Key trends impacting the lucrative back to school market
With schools and offices finally back this week, we are finally seeing some measure of the ‘old normal’ returning. This will come as a relief for brands and retailers targeting the lucrative back to school market. It was worth £1.7bn last year, according to GlobalData. However, like so much of the rest of the economy, we are seeing huge differences in how this market operates in 2020.
The home has been the new setting for schooling for most of this year and many parents remain nervous about sending their children back. There is even a strong possibility 2021 exams will be pushed back by several months with children losing so much time from the classroom. So with the school gates re-opening, what are the key trends those targeting the back to school market should take notice of?
Consumer electronics serving at home studying
When the lengthy lock down first hit, parents across the country collectively groaned. Their next move was going online to buy consumer electronic equipment. Laptops were needed for living rooms that had now become classrooms. In fact this category has been one of the few winners of the pandemic. While most sectors are significantly down, Electricals 2020 sales growth of 0.7% is predicted for the year, according to Retail Economics. Notebooks have been at the centre of a demand surge in particular. 73% of retailers have reported growth in sales for these products on the back of home learning. Looking to the future the momentum is likely to be maintained. A recent opinion poll by Redfield and Wilton Strategies suggested just two-thirds of parents were preparing to send their children back to the classroom with many remaining unconvinced schools are safe. If cases spike there could be a return to at least some element of home schooling which will necessitate further demand for these products.
Instore retail figures confound expectations
Recent retail figures have confounded expectations with a huge pent up demand now being met. Retail sales volumes rose a better-than-expected 3.6% in July and are now above pre-pandemic levels. Data from the Office for National Statistics showed that sales rose 2% ahead of a 0.2% prediction by economists, and a 13.9% bounce in sales in June. Relating to the back to school market specifically, clothing will still be a driver during the historical peaks of July, August and September. However stationary and tech products have been in demand during lockdown as both children and adults have been at home, with discounts readily available to take advantage of. The latest GDP figures also showed Ireland which is slightly ahead of the UK’s "return to normal" steps has shown positive precedent of customers returning to retail to buy their laptop and other back to school equipment and seek expert advice to do so.
To read the full article please visit The Drum.