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How Mobile Is Changing Back-To-School

Gen Z students and millennial parents comprise much of the back-to-school market, and having, or not having, a mobile strategy could make or break the season.

Back-to-school shopping isn’t just a trip to the local mall anymore. The methods by which parents and their kids find back-to-school deals are changing, making mobile a key component to any successful shopping event.

Aside from mobile’s obvious use as a marketing and purchase platform, shoppers’ relationship to mobile during back-to-school is shifting, down to the device’s inclusion as a must-have item. “Though consumers will continue to make purchases on their mobile device, there becomes a point in time where every child needs (wants) a phone. Thus, purchasing a mobile phone will also become a part of the back to school shopping experience,” Rich Kahn, CEO and co-founder of eZanga, told Retail Dive in an email.

And as Gen Z prepares to head to college, back-to-school shopping is trending toward young millennial parents and Gen Z students, making mobile and social media increasingly important.

Who’s using mobile

According to the NRF’s annual back-to-school survey, 43% of consumers plan to use their smartphones during back-to-school shopping — a 10% increase from five years ago.

Various studies have predicted even larger amounts of mobile engagement. One, by tech-based ad firm the Rubicon Project found that mobile will be used heavily amongst parents, with 60% of parents planning to use mobile devices for their start-of-year shopping and 30% planning to do at least a quarter of their back-to-school shopping on mobile.

Trey Courtney, global SVP and chief product officer at Mood Media, told Retail Dive in an email that he expects to see that number increase, with parents using their phones “to do everything from general product research to actually making certain purchases.”



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