Back 2 University Season and Sales – The Trends

23 Jul,2019

[lead]So we’ve covered the Back 2 School retail trends, it’s now time to delve into what we’re expecting to see as Freshers reach University this academic year.[/lead]

According to data collected by The Student Room, student spending before University contributes to £80billion a year to the economy, with the average student spending £2,000 before they’ve even started.  With similar results emerging in comparison to the research we did into the Back 2 School trends,  we’d be right in saying that University undergraduates are also a crucial focus of marketing and promotions. But what trends are we expecting to see?

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Packing up your childhood bedroom and making the journey to University is a big milestone that many of us experience. It’s the first time that many students will be away from home, and it can evoke a lot of stress and nerves. Right now, there are 2.2 million students in Universities up and down the country, meaning there is potential for huge, essential spending from students who are making sure they are all prepared for the big move.

Every time the new academic year rolls around, we see an influx of ‘University Checklists’ by online blogs and articles in an attempt to provide guidance and relief in this usually mad time. Not only are these checklists helpful to consumers, but they are also a great way to keep track of what products are key to focus on in terms of marketing and promotions.

However, when studying market research surrounding retailers and Back 2 University trends, due to the ‘frantic nature of Fresher’s week, there is very little time for brands to make meaningful connections’. With that said, Outside The Box state that it is easier for retailers and consumers to just ‘be there for students when needed’ rather than focusing a lot of effort on loud promotions.

But with helpful checklists floating around in the months leading up to the return to University, it gives retailers a head start on product focus, so subtle yet effective displays and POS can be adhered to reap the benefits of this busy time, months before September. So what are the lists saying?

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University Check Lists

Amongst the checklists that can be found all over social media and places like The Student Room, supermarket giants have been seen to jump on the bandwagon in a subtle attempt to be the home of not only guidance but everything students need.

Lists from the likes of  The Student Room focus on essentials like toiletries, first-aid items and important documents.  Asda’s George released their own checklist which they then corresponded with products that can be found instore, drawing attention to their offers all whilst presenting their store as ‘there when they’re needed’. George’s list highlighted things such as technology and homeware; mainly focusing on lifestyle products.

Morrisons also released their own checklist, covering a wide range of products including ‘cupboard essentials’ which they also corresponded with products like pasta sauces, tinned goods and teabags. This is a great way for retailers to not only reach out to students in a subtle way as to not add unnecessary pressure but to be a helpful hand in a time of need.

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Covering All Base

An area covered in our Back 2 School trends blog was the overall convenience of our favourite supermarket giants and how it’s used to utilise the increased spending around this time. Some of the main areas that have been recognised are; Stationary (78%), Homeware (74%), Food (68%) and Kitchenware (68%).

Over the years, supermarkets have transformed into something far from just being a food providing establishment. The range of products they provide makes it the perfect place for students to equip themselves for the new academic year; with less of the stress.

Asda and Morrisons can be seen adapting their promotions in order to adhere to what is deeming popular. In their checklists, both link to products which the above stats show to be selling the most each year, like homeware and food. This is a great example of how retailers are adapting to the needs of the specific target audience around this time – taking on board not only key products but the correct way to market them.

With the trends of this time in mind, it is a good idea to effectively display and promote recognised products of interest in order to benefit from this time of increased spending. The use of extra displays & eye-catching point of sale is a good way to encourage impulse purchases without directly pressuring the stressed-out student.

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What can Tactical do?

Through our in-store teams and thorough analytical software like Reapp and Drive, we can assist you in sustaining great displays and promotions which will encourage impulse purchases. We can keep a close eye on product performance and productivity and ensure with frequent visits that brands and stores are gaining the engagement they deserve so everyone can get in on the benefits brought around by this busy time.