Back-to-School Shopping Preview 2016: The Shift to Ecommerce Accelerates - eMarketer
« Return to Mobile Website

Newsletters Sign-Up

Schedule a Demo

Does My Company Subscribe?

Back-to-School Shopping Preview 2016: The Shift to Ecommerce Accelerates

eMarketer Report

By: eMarketer

Published: June 30, 2016

Jump to: Executive Summary | Table of Contents | List of Charts

Executive Summary

eMarketer expects the back-to-school season to ride a moderate rebound in the retail sector—and to continue the long-running shift to ecommerce. At the same, the shopping season itself is lengthening, and the web of influence for purchases is growing more complicated.

  • US retail sales during the core back-to-school shopping months of July and August will climb 2.6% in 2016, compared with 1.6% growth last year.
  • eMarketer has revised US retail ecommerce sales growth for 2016 up to 15.7%, the highest annual growth rate since 2011.
  • US retail ecommerce sales in July and August 2016 will increase 15.3% year over year, while retail ecommerce sales in core product categories will climb 16.7% in the same comparison.
  • According to one study, back-to-college sales among US internet users totaled $43.1 billion in 2015, vs. $24.9 billion for back-to-school sales.
  • Mobile traffic exceeded 50% of ecommerce traffic during the 2015 US holiday season. eMarketer has revised upward its projection for US retail mcommerce sales, which is now expected to grow 46.8% in 2016.
  • Although back-to-school and back-to-college shopping continues to expand beyond the traditional months of July and August, the core back-to-school season does not appear to be losing sales.
  • Students are heavily using social media to inform their decisions. In particular, visual social media has the most impact.

"eMarketer expects US retail sales to increase 2.5% in Q3 2016, up from 1.6% growth in the corresponding quarter of 2015."

Table of Contents

eMarketer’s Back-to-School Forecast 2016

This content is available to eMarketer PRO customers only. Request a live demo of PRO today to see what you can gain with access.

Request a demo today

Mobile Grows Even More Important

This content is available to eMarketer PRO customers only. Request a live demo of PRO today to see what you can gain with access.

Request a demo today

The New Reality of the Back-to-School Calendar

This content is available to eMarketer PRO customers only. Request a live demo of PRO today to see what you can gain with access.

Request a demo today

Multiple Audiences, Multiple Influencers

This content is available to eMarketer PRO customers only. Request a live demo of PRO today to see what you can gain with access.

Request a demo today

39 charts are included in the full report:

Back-to-School Shopping Preview 2016: The Shift to Ecommerce Accelerates

US Retail Sales, Q1 2015-Q4 2016 (trillions and % change vs. same quarter of prior year)

eMarketer’s Back-to-School Forecast 2016

US Retail Spending, by Holiday, 2015 (billions)

Retail Overall

US Retail Sales, 2014-2020 (trillions and % change)

US Retail Sales, Q1 2015-Q4 2016 (trillions and % change vs. same quarter of prior year)

US Retail Back-to-School Season Sales, 2012-2016

Ecommerce

US Retail Ecommerce Sales, 2014-2020 (billions, % change and % of total retail sales)

US Retail and Retail Ecommerce* Annual Sales Increases, 2014-2020 (billions and % of total)

US Retail Ecommerce Sales, Q1 2015-Q4 2016 (billions and % change vs. same quarter of prior year)

US Retail Ecommerce Back-to-School Season Sales, 2012-2016

Product Categories

US Retail Ecommerce Back-to-School Season Sales in Core Product Categories*, 2012-2016

US Retail Ecommerce Sales Growth, by Product Category, 2014-2020 (% change)

Back-to-School Items that US Parent Internet Users Plan to Purchase In-Store vs. Digitally, July 2015 (% of respondents)

Back to School vs. Back to College

Planned Back-to-School/Back-to-College Retail Spending Among US Internet Users, by Product Category, 2010-2015 (billions)

Back-to-School Spending Share According to US Parent Internet Users, by Product Category and Grade Level of Child, July 2015 (% of total)

Back-to-School Spending Share According to US College Student Internet Users, by Product Category, July 2015 (% of total)

Back-to-School/Back-to-College Product Categories that US Parent Internet Users Intend to Purchase Digitally vs. In-Store, by Education Level of Child, June 2015 (% of respondents)

Amazon Builds Its Back-to-School Business

Primary Way in Which US Parent Digital Buyers* Accessed Ecommerce Sites from Which They Purchased Back-to-School Products, Aug 2015 (% of respondents)

Mobile Grows Even More Important

US Holiday Season* Retail Ecommerce Metrics, by Device, Nov-Dec 2015

US Retail Mcommerce Sales, 2014-2020

US Retail Mcommerce Sales, by Device, 2014-2020 (billions, % change and % of total)

US Smartphone Retail Mcommerce Sales, 2014-2020 (billions, % change and % of total retail mcommerce sales)

US B2C Ecommerce Sales Share, by Device and Product Category, Q1 2016 (% of total)

Ways in Which Digital Buyers in North America Plan to Use a Mobile Device When Back-to-School Shopping, Feb 2016 (% of respondents)

Parents and Students Overindex for Smartphone Usage

Devices Used Regularly by US Mother Internet Users, Nov 2015 (% of respondents)

Frequency with Which US Smartphone Users Find It Easy to Shop via Smartphone, by OS and Age, Jan 2016 (% of respondents in each group)

Smartphones as Prime Research Hub

Ways in Which US Parent Smartphone Owners Use Their Smartphone While Back-to-School Shopping In-Store, Aug 2015 (% of respondents)

The New Reality of the Back-to-School Calendar

Time of Year When Digital Buyers in North America Plan to Begin Their Back-to-School Shopping, Feb 2016 (% of respondents)

US Peak Google Search Interest for Select Back-to-School Products, 2015 (Google Trends search index*)

Core Season Retains Sales

Month When US Parent Internet Users Make the Majority of Their Back-to-School Purchases, Aug 2015 (% of respondents)

US Retail Back-To-School* Clothing Sales as Percent of Extended Retail Back-to-School Sales**, 2011-2015

US Retail Back-To-School* Office Supply and Book Sales as Percent of Extended Retail Back-to-School Sales**, 2011-2015

Multiple Audiences, Multiple Influencers

US Digital Buyers, by Age, 2014-2020 (millions)

Factors that Influence Back-to-School Purchase Decisions According to Digital Buyers in North America, Feb 2016 (% of respondents)

Peers and Other Influencers

Sources that Influence Purchasing Decisions of US Internet Users, by Generation, Nov 2015 (% of respondents in each group)

Fashion/Clothing-Related Digital Activities Conducted by US Teen Internet Users, Nov 2015 (% of respondents)

Type of Media that Had the Most Influence on Purchases According to US Teen vs. Millennial Internet Users, April 2016 (% of respondents)

The Importance of Visuals

US Internet Users Who Use Select Categories of Smartphone Apps, by Generation, Nov 2015 (% of respondents in each group)

Digital Video Platforms Used by US Digital Video Viewers, by Age, March 2016 (% of respondents in each group)

US Snapchat User Penetration, by Age, April 2013, June 2015 & Dec 2015 (% of smartphone app users in each group)

Primary Reason that US College Student Internet Users Use Select Social Media Sites/Apps, March 2016 (% of respondents)