• A strong May retail economy, definitely became more lethargic in June.
  • No matter the question of June spending, for retailers Back 2 School must provide definite answers.
  • Kids and parents are PARTNERS in Back 2 School
  • Interestingly, parents are paying players/partners in their college kids’ Back 2 School
  • Tech purchases are “Top of the head” for all potential consumers, especially for parents (Kids may be more clothing focused).
  • Mobile shopping, purchasing by mobile and buying “mobile plans” have growing impact this time of yr.
  • Retailers MUST be ready to capture buyers when they are ready to buy vs on the rebound b/c there may not be that opportunity. Make your 1st offer your BEST.
  • Increasingly, young Hispanics (K-8) and their parents MUST be cultivated, targeted & captured.

As we hit mid-July, it is easy to say that the retail Ferris wheel is more like a roulette wheel and where she “stops” (and starts) nobody knows. Forget China, Greece, Puerto Rico, that recent NYSE shutdown, the Wall Street economy, the # of Republican prez candidates or the # of times Donald Trump buffoons, we must consider our real economy. It was an unusually cool late spring and the same for early summer with more fall like days than true summer days. The retail spinning wheel is likely to clear summer goods more quickly as cooler late summer (fall like) weather appears with resultant warmer school like clothing shelved earlier rather than later. And yes, the school bells that we hear in the distant background are less about summer school and more about the ’15-’16 school year. We must all remember that the Returnin’ to Readin’, Writin’ & ’Rithmatic is the 2nd most important retail time of yr. It must be surrounded, captured, and carefully crafted for $ucce$$.

The US’ GDP growth has been steady but NOT spectacular. After a flat April, May’s retail reports were fairly robust. May was alive with good Auto, Gasoline, and Bldg Material sales. Clothing Store, Furniture Store and Sporting Goods Store sales were also strong. But the came a swoon in June. Virtually, all of May’s strengths unexpectedly became June’s weaknesses with even restaurants NOT doing well. The question is how quickly can retailers turn June’s sourness into a sweet school season? While summer’s consumer confidence has not been giddy, there has been a go-go in that engine. Retailers must be real in their initial offerings rather than expecting a rebound sale b/c that may NEVER happen. Back 2 School is a small window that must be opened. We’re intrigued by the sense of urgency offered by 17 states (see News 4 Shoppers 7/13/15) who are offering STATE TAX HOLIDAYS in the next few wks. OH is one of those states and MI is not!


  • Amid June NRF poll showed that almost 30% of respondents were going to spend more in 2015 than 2014 with slightly less than 9% saying they were going to spend less. (All poll data were compared with 2009-2015 results. This means that 2009 was the least recent yr the NRF made available for comparison sales.)
  • Coupons will be less in evidence than in any yr since 2009.
  • Newspaper circulars will be used less than in any yr since 2009.
  • There will be less shopping for sales than in any yr since 2009 (We wonder about this).
  • According to the NRF there will be more online BTS purchasing than in any yr since 2009.



  • A Rubicon “Consumer Pulse” Survey found that 56% of parents said they were going to spend more on their K-12 kids with nearly ¼ of parents already buying BTS (Parents expect to spend more on tech, mobile devices and telecom.)
  • Rubicon K-12 spenders estimated spending is $873±.
  • Rubicon College student parent/spenders will be contributing $1120± per student.
  • Most parents are focused on buying school supplies and tech products for BTS while believing that their kids are more concerned about their BTS
  • 38% (2 in 5) of parents intend to buy tech (laptops, tablets & mobile phones) this BTS
  • About 1/3 of ALL parents will be shopping for a new mobile plan this summer.
  • Over 4 in 5 parents decide where to BTS shop NOT their kids, while their kids nonetheless, have great influence upon their buying decisions. Walmart and Target are their #1 & #2 overall choices with com being the #1 for tech product buys. (Almost ¾ of parents expect to pay for most of their college students BTS items. WOW!)


  • ¾ of parents say they will shop where there are deals and discounts & ¾ said they will shop at a big box retailer 1st. Please note that online and mobile shopping are quickly becoming more There is a definite trend whereby online shopping ONLY for tech and tele-communication products is emerging.


  • of parents watch multiple online videos b-4 buying. ¼ clicked on digital ads and most of them bought after that “click on”. WOW!


  • 2 in 5 parents of college students made a purchase w/i past wk based on mobile or online ad.
  • Over 1 in 3 parents made a buy directly from a mobile device and they did it more than once in the last month.

About bernacmd

For over 24 years, University of Detroit Mercy Marketing Professor Michael Bernacchi, Ph.D., J.D, has produced "uNDER tHE mIKE-rOSCOPE", a newsletter discussing current "marketing and advertising¹s bends, trends & ends." A well-know fixture in Detroit and national media, UDM's marketing guru has made several appearances on CNN's "Talk Back Live," the Voice of America worldwide radio network (VOA), ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC and on the pages of Sports Illustrated, Time, TV Guide, the New York Times, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, to name a few. At University of Detroit Mercy, he has taught courses in Marketing Management, Consumer Behavior, Marketing Communications, Research and Corporate Social Responsibility and Sports and Entertainment Marketing. Michael Bernacchi can be reached at 313-993-1116 or Please appropriately attribute the following for their work on uNDER tHE mIKE-rOSCOPE: Yen Ju Lee Robert Rouse Vidhyasagar Natarajan Eric Baumgardner & Ian Young
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s