Kids’ Shoes Sales Dwindle for Back-to-School, While Electronics Transactions Rise

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Fall is a great time for many retailers as it brings a surge of back-to-school sales. Families spend on average around $700 this time of year for kids headed back-to-school and close to $1,000 for college students.

Winners for Back-to-School Transactions: Electronics and Office Supplies

It’s no surprise that the Computers and Computer Accessories category was victorious this back-to-school shopping season (measured between August 1 and September 2, 2019). Online or off, Electronics, in general, are hot for retailers right now. Year-over-year we have seen Electronics as the leading category over Cyber Monday and Cyber Week

In terms of the eCommerce retail industry, it’s not a shock that Amazon saw the highest number of transactions, snagging 89% of the overall market share for this category. Behind Amazon came Walmart, then Newegg, and finally Best Buy.

For Amazon, the top products sold in the Electronics category included the Kindle PC app download, wireless mouse, and portable chargers.  Best Buy’s top products included three Lenovo computers, which is a huge win for the brand. All of the top products were computers, with the exception of the HP All-In-One printer.

Pencils? Check. How the Office Supplies Category Fared 

The Office Supply category was also a huge success this back-to-school season, with Amazon leading the race with more than five million transactions. This success is partly due to the popularity of AmazonBasics, which accounted for 364,680 transactions during this time period. Offering competitively priced private label scissors, folders, pencils, and more has helped Amazon maintain dominance, not only because its products are often the cheapest in a given category (resulting in increased sales), but also because the profit margin is greater. 

Staples and Office Depot managed to stay in the top three retailers for Office Supplies transactions, beating out Walmart and Target,  who were #4 and #5. 

Top products for Amazon in this category were: pencils, dry erase markers, Sharpies, and Elmer’s glue.

Who’s Buying Shoes? 

One surprise for this shopping season was in the Kids’ Shoes category. The transaction count across multiple retailers was down this back-to-school season.

This could have something to do with Payless stores closing, which may have negatively impacted online shoe purchases for kids.

The number of purchases made online was fairly low, possibly because parents would rather test the fit of the shoe for their growing children in a physical store.

Google Search and Conversions

Google search traffic for school-related keywords has been an up-and-down roller coaster YoY.  This was especially true for Amazon. The volume had almost a 20% increase from 2017 to 2018. However, from 2018 to 2019 search traffic has declined almost 50%. 

We dug a little deeper and realized this was also true for Non-Amazon websites. The volume across multiple non-Amazon sites showed a slight growth of 2% from 2017 to 2018, but this upward movement halted. From 2018 to 2019, consumer search declined by 45%.

While search has seen spikes and declines year-over-year, overall online conversions have shown growth YoY. Amazon has shown a 10% increase from 2018. Non-Amazon retailers are also seeing a positive surge in conversions. From 2018 to 2019, non-Amazon eCommerce sites are seeing just under a 20% increase in conversions.

It will be interesting to watch these categories next year and see if Kids’ Shoes sees more transactions or if another category will be the dark horse in the running.

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