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2018 Back-to-School Online Revenue Grows 35%, According to Rakuten Marketing

SAN MATEO, September 11, 2018 / PRNewswire/ – The 2018 back-to-school (B2S) shopping season is well underway, with parents and students opening their wallets for everything from technology, books and supplies to fashion and apparel. This season’s retail sales are anticipated to exceed $885 billion in the U.S. alone, with an estimated ten percent of total sales occurring online. According to leading digital advertising technology provider, Rakuten Marketing, mobile is this season’s platform of choice. The company reported today mobile conversions for B2S has grown 42 percent and year-over-year (YOY) revenue for the same period has increased by 31 percent.

“With Labor Day behind us, it’s a back-to-school and back-to-work mentality. We are seeing an extremely healthy back-to-school shopping season, spurred by strong shopper confidence and a solid economy” stated Rakuten Marketing U.S. General Manager of Enterprise, Paris Loesch. “Increased ad investment across the retail sector is delivering double-digit sales conversions and revenue growth – a trend we believe will continue as we head into the fall and impending holiday shopping season.”

With the average school year beginning the last week of August, or first week of September, most consumers’ B2S shopping has been well underway. Desktop and mobile remain the platforms of choice for shoppers, with purchase conversions growing 25 percent and 42 percent respectively, and sales revenue increasing by 39 and 31 percent respectively. Raktuen Marketing reports sales conversion and revenue across tablets also grew this season by eight and six percent respectively.

Top product categories for the 2018 selling season include apparel and accessories, and consumer electronics. So far, the 2018 back-to-school season has recognized increases in retail sales conversions for both these verticals. Apparel and accessories have risen by 31 percent YOY, and consumer electronics by five percent.

Top product selling periods by product category for key advertising verticals show the following:

  • Apparel & accessories peaked the week of July 15. The highest sales began on July 15 and continued to rise through July 17. Sales spiked again on July 20 and remained steady through the month of August.
  • Office products remained steady throughout the entire month of July and began its peak during the first week of August. By the week of August 19, office product sales grew by 32 percent.
  • Department store sales peaked from July 8-15, with the highest sales day hitting on July 12. Department store sales saw another peak during the week of July 22-28, with July 25 seeing peak sales. In August, sales for Department Stores began the week of August 5 and rose significantly the week of August 12 and remained high through the week of August 19.
  • Beauty and personal care peaked on July 9, remained steady through July 16 and rose again July 22- 28. This category saw its highest peak on July 25. This peak remained consistent through the first weeks of August and then increased by 48 percent week-over-week through the week of August 19.
  • Footwear sales began to rise the week of July 15 and have remained consistent through August.

Ad investment for the 2018 back-to-school selling season increased overall. The largest investment was in display ad spend, with Rakuten Marketing advertisers spending 24 percent more over the 2017 B2S season. Ad spend and budget allocation spanned multiple advertising products in display, including social, prospecting, retargeting, mobile and video. YOY Rakuten Marketing clients in total realized a 35 percent increase in online revenue growth, with ad spend increasing by 37 percent on social and a 41 percent increase in retargeting spend.

Loesch continued, “Executing a strategic and holistic marketing approach of integrating intent and purchase data combined with AI-powered technology during this B2S season has benefitted brands in multiple ways. New consumer engagement is driving higher sales conversions and conversions across multiple platforms. We are also seeing brands prioritize the creation and delivery of more personalized, creative advertisements that give consumers a more enjoyable experience when shopping online. These types of positive shopping experiences are increasing profits and brand success.”

B2S Peaks, Trends and Insights

  • Polo Shirt sales peaked the week of July 15 and July 22, 2018 (the same periods as July 2017).
  • Uniform sales peaked the week of July 8, within the department store vertical. Online stores, peaked the weeks of July 15 and July 22.
  • Boys and girls shoe purchases peaked the week of July 22.
  • Backpack sales peaked the week of July 8 and remained positive the following two weeks after.
  • YOY desktop online revenue grew 39 percent, with sales conversions rising 25 percent.
  • YOY mobile revenue grew 31 percent, with conversions rising 42 percent.
  • YOY online revenue increased 35 percent, with conversions rising 29 percent.

To learn more about Rakuten Marketing, visit https://rakutenmarketing.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, Singapore, Brazil, Japan, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and throughout the United States. Follow us on Twitter or learn more at https://rakutenmarketing.com.