Stylish backpacks are always in for Back to School season. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

PMX Agency, an integrated marketing firm, released its “Back to School” report, which analyzes consumer search and purchase behaviors for K-12 and college-age trends. Its search interest data, which details products, tactics and trends, was captured from July to August 2016.

The study found that the primary incentive for back-to-school shopping is free shipping, with 89 percent and 84 percent of K-12 and college-age respondents planning to use back-to-school shipping incentives, respectively. In recent years, shopping holidays such as Amazon’s Prime Day have caused concern for competing retailers. Amazon’s Prime Day began the evening of July 10 through July 11 and lasted a total of 30 hours to offer consumers the opportunity to take advantage of steep discounts and expedited free shipping on a variety of goods.

Glenn Lalich, the vice president of research at PMX, told WWD, “Despite the turmoil in the retail industry, increased spending trends in 2016, combined with a high point in enrollment across all age ranges, tells a (cautiously) optimistic story for the back-to-school season.” Annually, the season sees an uptick in the sales of clothing, shoes, laptops and unsurprisingly, backpacks. Jansport led in backpack brand search popularity, followed by Nike; The North Face; Herschel; Under Armour; L.L. Bean; Adidas; and Vans.

In measuring search popularity for school supplies, Wal-Mart holds the highest ranking, followed by Target, Staples, Office Depot and Amazon.

Much of the inspiration for back-to-school shopping ideas is generated from Pinterest, YouTube and Seventeen, who compete against retailers for “organic click share.” Lalich noted that “Visual content platforms like Pinterest have played an increasingly significant role in the back-to-school shopping journey — particularly for fashion brands that rely more heavily on visual experiences for inspiration and idea-sharing. These platforms also allow brands [the] opportunity to maximize more organic share of terms like ‘outfit ideas’ and ‘outfit guides.'”

Glenn Lalich, vice president of research at PMX Agency. 

Lalich commented on the demand for jeans throughout the back-to-school season and noted that while “jeans may have been losing ground to trending ath-leisure fashion options like joggers and leggings, we’ve seen a recent upsurge in search interest around ‘jeans’ — in fact, ‘skinny’ and ‘black jeans,’ both organic terms associated with the jeans interest, were more popular searches than some of the top brands in 2016. The current interest around denim appears to be aligned with an [increased] focus on design innovation by legacy brands like Levi’s, mixed with a compelling storytelling approach that resonates across generations, from boomers to Gen Z.”

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