eMarketer: Online Back-To-School Sales Growing

Sales should increase in the 2016 back-to-school shopping season, market research firm eMarketer stated, with online revenue gains significantly outpacing the rest of the market.

Overall retail sales, which eMarketer defines as those generated in July and August, will grow 2.6% from 2015 to $828.81 billion, but e-commerce revenues will advance at a 15.3% pace to $65.42 billion.

Although overall retail back-to-school sales will surpass the 1.6% growth seen in 2015, eMarketer asserted, they will not gain as quickly as happened in the three years prior and will remain flat to the past four years as a percentage of full-year retail sales, at 17.2%. Similarly, although growing more quickly, and at a steady pace over the past four years even as the dollar base has grown, back-to-school e-commerce sales will remain at 16.5% of the full-year online total.

However, according to eMarketer research, e-commerce sales have gained as a proportion of overall retail back-to-school revenues, up to 7.9% from 7% in 2015.

“We are seeing back-to-school sales increasingly slipping into other parts of the year, as consumers become trained to wait for promotions,” said eMarketer forecasting director, Monica Peart. “Some people are even waiting until the school year has begun to do their back-to-school shopping.”

Yory Wurmser, eMarketer retail analyst, added, “E-commerce is in the midst of a remarkable run of growth. The pace of commerce moving online is actually increasing, and that should be apparent this back-to-school season even for some sectors of retail that traditionally have remained primarily offline, such as home goods and school supplies.”