Armonk, N.Y. -- Study results released Tuesday by IBM revealed that while U.S. consumers shopped this July and August, they were not buying clothes and notebooks for their children but rather items for the home.
According to IBM’s findings, the biggest retail gains this back-to-school shopping season came from home goods purchases which increased 30% in July and more than 25% in August over their respective months in 2012.
While experts speculate that consumers were holding off on BTS purchases to eye the choices of their peers, social networks appeared to drive purchases with social sales increasing 69.7%. The social influence was especially apparent when it came to apparel, where shoppers referred to online stores through social networks generated 2.2% of all sales in August, an increase of more than 113% over 2011.
Mobile commerce also continued to grow with sales increasing 15.7% in July and 15.4% in August. For home goods, mobile sales reached a high of 20.1%.
"Back-to-school season is proving to be a trigger event that spans across categories beyond just notebooks and backpacks,” said Jill Puleri, global retail leader, IBM. “Retailers that are cashing in are those who understand how this trigger drives sales for home furnishings, as well as for apparel, and can target their inventory levels and promotions accordingly.”
The IBM benchmark revealed the following back to school trends: