Retail Makes the Grade During Back-to-School Season

Retail has consistently been the leading category for back-to-school advertising and 2015 was no different. Close to 80 percent of all back-to-school messaging came from retail with $184 million of expenditures. Department stores and mass merchandisers were the top-spending retail segment at $98 million, or just over one-half of the category total. Spending from this group in years prior to 2015 was much higher: $107 million in 2014 and $146 million in 2013.

The top 10 advertisers in 2015 accounted for 63 percent of overall back-to-school spend. Discount department store Target was once again the top spending advertiser for the time period we measured, followed by Kohl’s and Payless Shoesource.

It’s no surprise that apparel merchandise dominates retail ad messaging during back-to-school season. Department stores and mass merchandisers accounted for a combined 55 percent of apparel-related ad spend versus a 45 percent share for specialty retailers. Within the latter segment, Old Navy was responsible for more than three-fourths of the ad money.

Dairy Queen was the only non-retail advertiser to make the top 10, however other non-retail advertisers including XFinitiy, Nutrisystem and Visionworks all spent substantial amounts. Despite not making the top 10, these advertisers were top spenders for their respective categories, helping them stand out from their competition.

Interested in learning more about marketing strategies during the back-to-school season? Download the full report! 

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