Back to School Shopping Expected to Decline for Retailers


As summer turns to fall, retailers and small business owners may find it tough to draw in new customers for back-to-school shopping. According to a recent report released by The Integer Group, back-to-school shopping is on the decline, and may experience significant drops this year. The report found that 31 percent of survey participants said they will not be doing any back-to-school shopping this year, an increase from the nearly 28 percent of respondents that said the same thing in 2012.

This is troubling news for small business owners, from clothing retailers to stores filled with school supplies, as this time of year often provides a boost in revenues to help entrepreneurs make ends meet. The study further found that only 38 percent of respondents said they would shop at least a month ahead of a school start date, down from 45 percent who said the same last year.

Narrowing market

The problem lies not only in the drop in sales, but in the narrowing of consumers’ shopping habits for school supplies. Evidence from the report shows that those who do intend to shop are planning on sticking to a few stores or outlets, rather than exploring several options throughout an area.

This means less foot traffic for entrepreneurs, which Craig Elston, senior vice president of insight & strategy at The Integer Group, says will make it more difficult for companies to compete.

“Retailers will have to strive harder to get shoppers through the door by investing more in order to entice people with promotions, deals, proper communication, and incentives outside of the store,” Elston said.

In addition to the loss of foot traffic, retailers will have to work harder to bring in customers by offering potentially more expensive products. The report revealed that customers have increased their expectations for product quality and name brand, making small business credit card processing services a priority to make shopping more convenient. Around 38 percent of back-to-school survey participants also reported that they plan on buying more private-label products, up from 31 percent in 2012.

Some small businesses that create their own private-label products may benefit from this, as just 33 percent of respondents said they believe brand names are of higher quality. However, 57 percent of shoppers said that brand name products are often more appealingly packaged, although a correlation between packaging and purchasing rates was not made.

If small business owners are experiencing lower sales and need financial assistance, they can come to National Funding for guidance on everything from getting a small business loan to securing a cash advance for business to help improve marketing and drive sales.

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