US retail sales during the back-to-school shopping season of July and August 2017 will grow 4.0% over 2016, according to eMarketer’s latest forecast.
Last year set a record for back-to-school season sales, but 2017 will be even better. US retail sales during those core months will reach an estimated $857.18 billion, accounting for 17.0% of total retail sales for the year.
Ecommerce for the back-to-school season will grow 14.8% to $74.03 billion in 2017. That represents 8.6% of total back-to-school retail sales—online and offline—for the period, up from the 7.8% share last year.
“Ecommerce growth this year comes on top of a strong year in 2016, making it that much more impressive,” said eMarketer senior analyst Yory Wurmser. “Younger consumers that shop in preparation for going back to high school and college actually prefer shopping online, so ecommerce growth should continue for the foreseeable future.”
Five product areas play an outsized role during the back-to-school season:
- Apparel and accessories
- Books, music and video
- Computers and consumer electronics
- Office equipment and supplies
- Toys and hobbies, including sporting goods
Back-to-school ecommerce sales in these core categories during July and August will exceed the quarterly growth rate for ecommerce overall at 15.8%, reaching $37.56 billion.