Google combined search trends with surveys to showcase 2013 back-to-school shopping behavior online. This year, Google said it was seeing the earliest back-to-school shopping season on record, and cited that the “ability to research online at any time, anywhere, on any device, has sped up shopping noticeably.”
Google said July is reserved for the research portion of back-to-school gear, and August will be purchase time.
Back-to-School Start Dates Vary
Keep in mind that depending on where students live in the U.S., the first day of school will vary as much as several weeks. John Gagnon shared tips on Search Engine Watch earlier this month on how to use this type of information to customize the timing of your online marketing plan.
The following map from Gagnon’s post illustrates school start dates nationwide according to geography:
This data, along with Google’s research and a recent study by the National Retail Federation (NRF) that showed 72 percent of parents shop for their children within 1 week to 1 month before school starts, shows the need for perfect timing in ecommerce marketing. Gagnon talks more about how to capitalize on that in his post.
The Majority of Shopping Starts Online
Google said the majority of these back-to-school shoppers start online. "More than 60 percent of shoppers will begin their shopping online, and most shoppers report that online research will have a notable impact on their in-store purchase decisions."
College shoppers trump other students in terms of spend, Google said. “Shoppers for high school students expect to spend $347 on average, people shopping for college expect to spend nearly double that amount at $614 on average.”
Ninety-four percent of shoppers indicated a promotion or sale would persuade them to purchase a product, Google said.
"We found that people are more sale conscious when buying consumer electronics than other school supplies. Consumer electronics shoppers were more likely to make a purchase if there was a back to school promotion, free shipping offer or one day sale."
Video also proved to be a popular form of back-to-school research with Google showing more than 205,000 haul videos (people reviewing their purchases) on clothes, supplies and dorm room décor uploaded in the past week.
With the month fast coming to a close, Google said most back-to-school research will be wrapping up while purchasing momentum will pick up.
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!