The back-to-school category shouldn’t be monopolized by big-box stores, especially when families with school age children are planning to spend more on back-to-school supplies this year than ever before. According to an annual survey by the National Retail Federation, families with kids in K-12 plan to spend an average of $696.70 on school supplies, that’s up nearly $12 from last year, and families with college bound children plan to spend an average of $976.78, up nearly $34 from last year. Overall, NRF is predicting that shoppers will spend around $80.7 billion on back-to-school supplies this season.
With minimal changes, independent home improvement retailers can capitalize on the record spending levels expected this year. Traditional inventories, including storage and organization supplies, tailgating and recreational items, and housewares products, already fit the category. One National Hardware Show® vendor offers a product that screams back-to-school. Inpack Global USA has given the traditional milk crate a new twist by making it collapsible. The BIGANT Heavy Duty Collapsible & Stackable Crate can hold up to 132 lbs. and combines packing, transport and storage in one reusable container that’s perfect for organizing closets, dorm rooms and lockers.
By turning traditional categories, like storage and organization, in to an opportunity for customers to get what they need for the upcoming school year, independent retailers who make back-to-school a priority in August could be in a for a big win. And, fortunately, it’s not too late—even if school has already started. According to the NRF survey, the majority of shoppers are waiting for the best deals, and of course, there are some who will want to pick up items their kids are discovering they need during the first few weeks of school.
By promoting sales events for these products, retailers can attract shoppers and boost third-quarter sales by capturing part of this multi-billion-dollar industry.