The #backtoschool or #BTS trend is heating up with a vengeance; and, it will continue to build for the next 6 weeks. If you are a retailer that caters to the BTS crowd, get moving on your marketing, PR and social media strategy to help you ride the trend wave. If you are a biz that can ride the BTS wave, even peripherally, start swimming now (or surfing, as it were). Stats show that 34% of families are, in July (post July 4th), already doing their BTS shopping. 74% of shoppers surveyed by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) say they start to shop when they begin to see back-to-school campaigns. So, give the people what they want!

As for trends within the back-to-school shopping trend: 83% of purchases happen in physical stores and while the are at a brick-and-mortar, they are doing MOBILE shopping: comparing prices, reading reviews, asking friends’ opinions and checking inventory levels elsewhere.

Some 67% of consumers included in the survey say they plan to spend more this year than last, up a whopping 50% from last year.

“Replacing worn items” is still the major reason people shop for BTS items. But 12% of those recently surveyed say they intend to spend more this BTS to keep up with trends. “Most people view BTS spending as essential,” says Jesse Tron of ICSC “and parents don’t see much choice when it comes to things like books, pencils, backpacks and computers. But fashion is becoming more important, especially in families with older and college-aged kids. And it’s extending the shopping season because they are waiting longer to see style trends develop before making their purchases.

BTS is an evergreen story for the media. Find your angle and provide a fresh idea to help reporters/producers/editors fill their 24/7 news cycle. They need to tell the BTS story for the next 6 weeks. That’s a lot of stories they need to tell! Educators, schools, retailers, tutors, psychologists, after-school-programs, educational apps, gadgets, accessories companies and anyone with a Back-to-School angle/biz … #BTS is your time of year — ride the BTS trend wave.

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