Back-to-school spending is expected to edge up this summer following an anemic 2015 selling season.
According to market research firm eMarketer, total back-to-school (BTS) retail sales are projected to rise 2.6 percent, to $828.8 billion, compared with last year’s 1.6 percent gain.
Indeed, 2015 was the weakest year of the last five, compared with 2013 when BTS spending rose 5.8 percent.
The selling period, which accounts for about 17 percent of full-year sales, is the second most critical season for retailers after the Q4 holidays.
The outlook is dramatically different online. eMarketer projects that BTS e-tail sales will increase 15.3 percent — consistent with last year — to $65.4 billion, representing about 8 percent of the total seasonal spend.
The researchers didn’t break out their sales projections by product category, although consumer electronics spending ranked second last year, behind apparel and ahead of shoes, according to the National Retail Federation.
eMarketer said its forecast covers the months of July and August, and is based on an analysis of quantitative and qualitative data from research firms, government agencies, and media and public companies, plus interviews with top publishing and advertising executives.