Back to school boost delivers a +24% revenue uptick for online retailers

Back To School delivered a welcome boost to online retailers, with revenues, conversions and web traffic all up compared to 2022. The annual ‘start of term’ shopping event continues to grow as a key period in the retail calendar, the latest data from Wunderkind, the leading performance marketing channel that scales one-to-one messages for retailers and brands, reveals.

Data from Wunderkind’s Marketing Pulse, which analysed over 100.7million shopper journeys over the Back To School period (28 Aug – 17 Sep 2023 and 29 Aug – 18 Sep 2022 inclusive), showed that online revenues grew +24% year-on-year, as shoppers snapped up school essentials, transitional autumn wear and ‘back to work’ outfits.

Web traffic across UK ecommerce sites saw a +64% increase year-on-year as consumers shopped around for the best Back To School deals, and website conversions over the same period also rose +44.9% compared to 2022. Thursday 31 August was the highest performing date during this time, both for conversions and revenues, which were respectively +25.9% and +20.4% higher than the daily average for the period.

Mintel’s data suggests that, despite continued cost of living pressures on household budgets, UK consumers now spend £1.2billion on Back To School staples, with M&S reporting the retail event is now its third biggest shopping event of the year, second only to Christmas and Easter.

Retailers have also been leveraging Back To School as a key value driver to win wider share of wallet and ambient spend in other categories among price and promotions sensitive shoppers, with John Lewis offering 25% off its own brand uniforms, while M&S, which froze prices of its school wear lines for the third year in a row, launched pre-loved and second-hand uniform bundles at discounted prices.

Jon Halley, International RVP at Wunderkind, commented:

“By offering value to their customers and delivering discounts during the key ‘Back To School’ trading period, retailers have been able to boost revenues, increase basket sizes and grow their share of wallet.”

“With Back To School coming in the lead up to the Golden Quarter, retailers are also now eyeing this Back To School period, which encompasses transitional ‘back to work’ shopping, as a key opportunity to acquire new customers and grow 1st party data ahead of Black Friday and Christmas campaigns.  With cookie depreciation and rising costs to rent 3rd-party audiences, Back To School is now more than just a revenue-generating opportunity in the retail calendar – it’s also a timely chance to grow marketable lists and fuel owned channel messages and retargeting ahead of peak trading,” he concluded.

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