Blog Part 2: Back-to-school 2023: E-commerce ...

Part 2: Back-to-school 2023: E-commerce app trends to watch

While summer vacation is in full swing, savvy consumers are already preparing their shopping lists for the upcoming back-to-school and back-to-college season. Retailers and marketers in the U.S. consider the back-to-school and college season one of the most crucial shopping occasions of the year, second only to the holiday season. Despite concerns over inflation, parents are expected to set a new record by spending an unprecedented $41.5 billion on back-to-school supplies this year—a substantial increase from last year's total of $36.9 billion and the previous high of $37.1 billion in 2021. Meanwhile, back-to-college spending is also expected to soar to $94 billion, nearly $20 billion more than last year's record-breaking amount.

According to National Retail Federation’s (NRF) recent survey, 55% of back-to-class shoppers have already started buying school supplies and first-day outfits. This year, families with children in elementary through high school are expected to splurge an average of $890.07 on back-to-school items, a $25 increase from last year's spending. Almost 70% of back-to-school shoppers plan to buy high-tech gadgets and computer accessories, driving the expected increase in spending. College students and their families are gearing up to spend even more, with an average of $1,366.95 per person, marking a significant increase in spending since 2019, almost double the amount.

In this article—Part 2 in our summer e-commerce series—we take a closer look at e-commerce app trends during the 2022 back-to-school season to help mobile marketers stay ahead of the curve and ace their marketing strategies and ad campaigns in 2023.

E-commerce app usage peaks in August

When shopping for school supplies, e-commerce apps are the go-to choice for many Americans. According to Adjust data, e-commerce app sessions saw significant year-over-year growth from July to September 2022. July 2022 saw an impressive 11% YoY increase in sessions. But the numbers only got better from there. In August, the YoY growth was even more substantial at 12%, indicating that most Americans prepared for the upcoming school year right before it started. The momentum slowed down a bit in September, with a YoY boost of 5%. However, that's understandable since most schools are usually in session by that point.

Shopping app sessions soar during the summer of 22

Shopping apps in the U.S. experienced explosive growth in sessions throughout the summer of 2022. July saw a significant YoY hike of 19%, followed by an even more impressive YoY growth of 22% in August. The trend continued into September with a YoY increase of 19%.

Although the highest growth in sessions was recorded in August, users spent the most time on shopping apps in September. The average session length was 10.09 minutes in July, slightly increasing to 10.18 minutes in August before spiking to 11.09 minutes in September. Last-minute shoppers likely invested extra time to snag the best deals in September.

How app marketers can succeed during the back-to-school season

To maintain the back-to-school spending trend and capture the attention of parents, teachers, and students, e-commerce marketers need to optimize their marketing efforts. So, sharpen your pencil and get ready to take notes! With the following ideas, you can develop a winning strategy and maximize your back-to-school sales.

Entice budget-conscious shoppers with discounts and bundle deals

During this challenging economic period, app marketers can attract budget-conscious shoppers by offering discounts or bundle deals on essential school supplies and tech items. There was a 7% increase in the price of school supplies in 2022, while new clothes showed a price increase of 18%. That's why sales events will be even more prominent for back-to-school and college shoppers. Retailers can take an Amazon Prime Day approach by creating their own sales events. In fact, during Amazon Prime Day 2023, we saw shoppers searching for the best deals, possibly also for school supplies, as installs and sessions for deal discovery apps skyrocketed by 456% and 27% YoY, respectively.

Timing is everything: Plan for early and late shoppers

The back-to-school shopping season starts earlier than you might think, long before mid-July, and lasts until mid-September. The best way to catch early birds is to create your campaigns earlier by spreading promotions and deals throughout the summer. But for those last-minute shoppers, savvy retailers can offer enticing discount coupons that can be redeemed for future school purchases. And with session lengths reaching their peak in September, it’s an opportune time to amp up your marketing.

Focus on marketing to Gen Z and Gen Alpha

The back-to-school season allows marketers to target a diverse audience, including Gen Z and Gen Alpha. Gen Z is a generation of digital natives who turn to social media platforms for school shopping inspiration, with 80% having purchased a product they discovered on social media. Gen Alpha, the first post-Gen Z category to age into schooling, is also expected to be crucial during the back-to-school shopping season. As the most diverse generation yet, Gen Alpha responds well to campaigns focused on inclusivity, sustainability, and social impact, with 50% of surveyed parents choosing sustainable back-to-school products whenever possible.

Enhance user experience with shoppable videos

To attract back-to-school shoppers, app marketers can use shoppable videos to provide a convenient online shopping experience. By incorporating product links and purchase buttons directly into videos, brands can create an engaging and immersive experience for consumers, ultimately leading to increased sales and brand loyalty.

Ready to take your app to the next level? Download our 2023 edition of Mobile app trends: A global benchmark of app performance for in-depth analysis, actionable data, and key insights.

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