Retail Industry Heating up for Summer and Back to School

Strategy Plan One

June 29, 2012

Retail Industry – Summer Period

Like other economic indicators, the retail industry is slowly improving.  It has been estimated that the retail industry will grow in the summer months as food and retail sales increase due to the tourism season.  Retail centered around tourism and travel see marked improvement as many tourism destination packages are developed and offered up to consumers.  Building into the summer retail period, back to school retail sales occur in the summer month, and this year’s consumer trends are interesting.

In terms of consumer behaviour and trends, The National Retail Federation (NRF) – BigInsight have released information on their Independence Day Survey, which highlights 67% or roughly 160 million Americans will be out and partaking in July 4th celebrations.  Retail is estimated to be up in many categories as consumers buy up patio furniture, grills, and beach merchandise.  From the survey, more than 48 million or 23% will buy patriotic US gear and merchandise.  This is a marked 3% improvement from the previous annual survey.

For those businesses centered around events, like fireworks or parades, the survey data shows estimates that 115 million will attend events, and an additional 35 million will be spectators at parades.

Back to School – Retail Trends for 2012

Summer retail period also includes the “back to school” retail craze.  This year’s survey by NRF suggests that consumers may be a bit more frugal this year, indicating that spending behaviour may be down by 5-6%.  Last year the average person spent $603 on all back to school items including clothing, supplies and electronics.  It is estimated that this year’s average spending may be in the range of $580-590 according to the survey.

E-commerce plays a significant role in back to school retail, as the survey data suggests 31% will conduct comparative shopping online and 17% stated that they will shop more online.  Both figures show increasing trends over last year’s survey data.

Here are the comparative results of a BigInsight Consumer spending survey, illustrating consumer behaviour 2010-2012 with respect to back to school retail.

Retail industry - back to school

More responses in this survey show consumers siding with cautious, with very conservative behavioral responses to the survey questions.  Businesses and entrepreneurs should analyze survey data and adjust retail planning accordingly.  For instance, the survey suggests more will be shopping online, the trend of using coupons or find deals is increasing and spending less overall.

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