ShopperTrak released its recap of the back-to-school season and the news is positive for retailers, including a 4.7 percent increase in sales during the month of August. ShopperTrak is projecting sales will increase 2.4 percent during the two-month holiday season ended December 31.

Continuing the trend of more targeted shopper visits, in-store trips decreased 2.7 percent during the month of August. However, back-to-school shoppers came to the store ready to buy, resulting in increased sales, conversion and transaction size during the August timeframe.

“ShopperTrak is very encouraged by the uptick in conversion and the steady increase in transaction size — both of which contributed to a 4.7 percent sales increase during August,” said Kevin Kearns, ShopperTrak chief revenue officer. “The data indicates shoppers are eager to buy, but they are doing their homework before coming to the store. We anticipate this pattern to continue into the holiday, and predict that sales in the GAFO sector will increase when compared to the 2014 season.”

2015 Back-to-School Season Highlights

  • August shopper visits decreased by 2.7 percent YOY.
  • Conversion and transaction size increased by 1.2 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively, during the same period.
  • Severe weather pushed the back-to-school season's busiest national shopping day back one week versus 2013 and 2014.
  • A late Labor Day caused shoppers to spread out their purchases over a longer period of time, likely due to promotions. The shift seems to have worked in the retailers' favor, extending the season while many school districts delayed their start date.

Holiday Preview

The trend toward shopping earlier will carry into the 2015 holiday season, as the split between November and December continues to narrow.

An early Hanukkah also could produce a stronger surge in November sales.

ShopperTrak predicts a 2.4 percent increase in GAFO sales during the 2015 holiday season (November 1 – December 31) versus the previous year.

“Several trends indicate a successful November and December, including the rise of the educated consumer — who visits the store less but buys more — and the lengthening of the shopping season,” said Kearns. “Retailers need to understand these evolving trends in order to meet their customers' needs and ultimately capitalize on the entire 61-day holiday shopping season.”

ShopperTrak is a global provider of location-based analytics, providing insights into consumer behavior, enabling their clients to better understand their customers and enhance the shopping experience to increase traffic, conversion and transaction size. With more than 1,200 of the world's leading retailers, malls and entertainment venues, ShopperTrak deploys over 80,000 devices across 97 countries and territories.