- This back-to-school season could bring a "significant slowdown" in sales, according to a new report from Coresight Research emailed to Retail Dive.
- The firm expects 2% to 2.5% year-over-year growth in non-food retail sales between July and September, down from 4.4% growth for the period in 2018.
- Despite the predicted slowdown, Coresight's estimates are sunnier than the recently released National Retail Federation's, which predicts a 2.5% decline in total spending during the season because of declines in the total numbers of back-to-school shoppers.
Deborah Weinswig, CEO of Coresight and the report's author, pointed to positive indicators in the economy, such as low gas prices and income growth, as fueling her firm's more positive take on the back-to-school season. But she also notes the slowdown in retail sales growth during the year so far.
Apparel is the largest category for back-to-school shoppers and electronics the largest for back-to-college, according to the report. "Consumers are interested in good deals, making discount stores the second most popular destination for back-to-school shopping, behind department stores," Weinswig wrote.
The report also pointed to Prosper Insights & Analytics survey data showing that nearly 60% of back-to-school shoppers planned to shop on Amazon during the 48-hour Prime Day event, again marking the importance of Amazon's self-made holiday to the season.
Prime Day's primacy also demonstrates the growing importance of e-commerce to the season. The Coresight report also cites Deloitte surveys showing 56% of shoppers planned to make back-to-school purchases in physical stores and 29% online, up from 23% who planned to shop online last year.
Deloitte has additionally found that mobile shopping during back to school is set to grow 60% this year while home computer use is expected to slow.
According to Deloitte, 88% of shoppers state price is the most important consideration when selecting a retailer. When it comes to price, consumers expect retailers to offer discounts, clear ads, bundled items, coupons and sales tax holidays.