Are You Ready for Back-to-School Season?

  • April 26, 2023

Location data reveals emerging trends to help retailers and brands prepare for the 2023 school year.

Though the 2022 back-to-school season wasn’t as affected by COVID as in years prior, exorbitant inflation had a noticeable impact on the way back-to-school consumers shop. So how can retailers effectively tap into location-based learnings to understand and align with customers’ existing routines and preferences? Using the power of location data, Foursquare analyzed consumer behavior, discovering correlations between shoppers’ online/in-app and real-world behavior during back-to-school season.

A new school year is a chance to rock the latest fashion trends

New apparel and shoes are likely to dominate back-to-school shopping lists in 2023, as 23% of survey respondents plan to buy a new fit for the new school year. Additionally, shoe stores saw a +5-14% increase in visit volume last summer. Anticipate for another substantial growth for this upcoming back-to-school season!

Back-to-school consumers are motivated to save while shopping for new devices

Flipp users, regardless of their level of in-app activity, are more likely than most Americans to visit telecom carrier stores in-person, during the back-to-school season. For instance, Flipp’s most active (heavy) users were 72% more likely than most to visit a telecom retailer during last year’s back-to-school season. 

August is peak shopping month

The season is likely to kick up into high gear toward the end of summer, as 39% of surveyed Americans intend to begin shopping for school essentials in August. Back-to-school retailers saw the biggest uptick in visitation on Sunday, August 7th last year, which is up +4% compared to the 7-day average of 2022).

Boost in beauty

Last year, shoppers were focusing on their “look”, with beauty retailers seeing the most YoY foot traffic growth of any retail category (+8% boost in foot traffic between July 4 – September 5 2022, compared to the previous year). In 2023, we can expect this affinity for beauty products and retailers to continue.

Labor Day is a key shopping day

Labor Day weekend marks one of the biggest shopping events of the year, as retailers will see an increase in visitation throughout the holiday weekend, compared to the rest of the back-to-school season. In particular, on Saturday of Labor Day weekend, retailers will see the largest uptick in visitation, with a +27% increase last year.

Back-to-school shoppers are loyal

During last year’s back-to-school season, returning customers accounted for the overwhelming majority (98%) of total in-store retail traffic. A small fraction of retail store traffic (2%) came from new customers. Essentially, back-to-school shoppers are typical in-store shoppers.