Rakuten Marketing Reports 2017 ‘Back-to-School’ Shopping Trends; Anticipates Positive Retail Selling Period; Advertising Alignment with Consumer Interests & Purchase Intent Key to Driving Seasonal Performance

SAN MATEO, Calif., August 8, 2017 / PRNewswire/ – Rakuten Marketing, a leading technology company that enables brands to increase sales through data-driven marketing, today reported Rakuten Marketing Insights data and ‘back-to-school’ shopping trends for the 2017 retail selling period spanning June 1 through September 30. Instrumental to maximizing back-to-school results is delivering advertising that better aligns with consumers’ interests and prioritizing ad spend to reach shoppers most likely to be ‘in-market’ for the products, services, and experiences being advertised.

During the core ‘back-to-school’ period, retail sales are estimated to reach $867.18B with a 14.8 percent growth for eCommerce sales, according to eMarketer. Based on a Google Market Analysis, Rakuten Marketing expects seasonal product searches and sales to start mid-June, and to peak in mid-August. Rakuten Marketing conversion data during the stated selling period show sales across unique product categories to peak at different weeks. Beginning the third week of July, Rakuten Marketing expects consumer electronics to be the the first category to spike, with sporting goods and apparel/accessories peaking the following week. Footwear & department store sales are expected to drive significant sales during the first week in August, with school supplies hitting a high the first and third weeks of August.  School essentials, including backpacks, are expected to reach their peak in the second week of August, and bookstores will see their highest sales during the third week of August. The season will close with software sales hitting a high in the second week of September, and office products will see a gain in the third week of the same month.

“We expect this back-to-school spending season will deliver solid results for the retail sector. Marketers can prepare for growth by maximizing their digital marketing programs ahead of key product conversion periods” said Rakuten Marketing CEO, Tony Zito. “Mobile and social will be essential to driving meaningful back-to-school season profits, and advertisers will need to increase their investment in these platforms to optimize their strategies. Across all platforms, advertisers need to invest in the insights and technology needed to deliver ads that are aligned with what consumers are in-the-market to buy. Eighty percent of consumers want advertising that better reflects their interests, and, as advertisers do this more effectively, they will increase their return on ad spend, and create experiences that drive more life time value.”

According to Rakuten Marketing 2016 back-to-school data, year-over-year mobile conversions rose 79 percent, while desktop and tablet conversions remained static. Revenue across all three platforms increased year-over-year, with mobile up 71 percent, desktop up 14 percent and tablet up five percent. Consumers also increased their mobile site engagement, as the number of page views per visit increased by 177 percent from 2015 to 2016. To date, the 2017 back-to-school season has seen a 40 percent year-over-year increase in mobile revenue, and consumers are spending 69 percent more per mobile order.  With the continued growth of mobile since 2016 (Q2 mobile revenue is up 19 percent) the company expects mobile to become the predominant shopping platform in the next 24-48 months.

Along with this data, Rakuten Marketing provides the following guidelines to help retail marketers capitalize on the 2017 ‘back-to-school’ selling season:

  • Extend the reach, engagement and measurability of brand ad campaigns with targeted online strategies that are meaningful to consumers.
  • Eliminate wasteful spend and deliver more valuable advertising to consumers by prioritizing audiences that are most likely to be ‘in-market’ shoppers.
  • Invest in new-customer acquisition strategies that leverage lookalike modeling to expand audience reach.
  • Increase mobile ad spend to maximize the revenue potential from growing consumer engagement and purchases on the platform.
  • Promote regional store sales with hyper local targeting.
  • Increase consumer engagement with native advertising formats, including social media, product listing ads, and affiliate partnerships with influencers and content publishers.
  • Champion transparency and more meaningful consumer engagement to reduce ad-blocking and grow revenues.
  • Leverage marketing data to deliver better advertising and enhance the consumer experience.

For more information about Rakuten Marketing Integrated Marketing Solutions and Rakuten Marketing Insights, visit https://rakutenadvertising.com.

 About Rakuten Marketing

Rakuten Marketing industry leading solutions empower marketers to thrive in their evolved role and achieve the full potential of digital marketing, efficiently and effectively, with data-informed insights that create consistent, engaging and influential experiences across screens. Offering an integrated solution, along with unique insights and consultative partnerships, Rakuten Marketing delivers the tools that marketers need to increase efficiency, productivity and performance.

Rakuten Marketing is a division of Rakuten Inc. (4755: TOKYO), one of the world’s leading Internet service companies. The company is headquartered in San Mateo, California, with offices in Australia, Brazil, Japan, the United Kingdom, and throughout the United States. Follow us on Twitter or learn more at https://rakutenadvertising.com.