Supermarkets win back-to-school products battle in UK

British supermarkets are the clear winners in the battle for the parent pound as families spend on back-to-school products.


The supermarkets are clear leaders when it comes to back-to-school supplies

That’s according to figures from the analysts at GlobalData who said that the supermarkets’ “ability to use heavy discounting and promotions has cemented their position as the go-to destination for back-to-school products.”

Its Back to School 2018 report shows that price (and especially markdowns) has grown in importance for consumers in 2018, with over three-quarters of back-to-school shoppers saying they expect retailers to offer promotions and discounts on BtS ranges. 

And that’s important to the fashion sector as apparel is the biggest purchase category. Retail analyst Zoe Mills said: “Uniform remains the largest sub-category, commanding 38.3% of all spend.”

But it’s also interesting that this proportion is decreasing (down 3.4 percentage points year-on-year) as average product spend grows across most other categories.

The big supermarkets names have really been expert at making the most of the opportunities the shopping season brings. Mills added: “While social media advertising campaigns from the likes of Nike and Adidas have influenced trends in some sub-categories such as sportswear, leading to growth at specialists, market dominators like Tesco and Asda have such an established position in back-to-school shopping that it remains challenging for other retailers to gain traction.

‘‘In particular, Tesco has shown resilience as despite closing its Tesco Direct website this year, which reduced the back-to-school product range in its collection, [it] has still performed well, highlighting loyalty among its customer base and showcasing that despite a reduced offer, [it] was able to meet the needs of consumers”.

GlobalData also said that the supermarkets this year were helped by the fact that while 31.9% of consumers said that they felt better off compared to last year, rising prices and sustained high inflation in food ensured that they were “looking to make savings where possible.”

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