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How did retailers prepare for back to college shoppers?

By Rob Nowell

Back to college spending is predicted to reach $54.1 billion, exceeding the record set in 2012, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). This represents an increase of 11.5 percent compared to last year, which the NRF suggests is driven by an increase in college enrolment.

The survey also found that 44 percent of shoppers planned to purchase online. Retailers were keen to capitalize on this; releasing banners and new menu options to encourage shoppers to make back to college purchases.

College walmart

Walmart website 6 September 2017

Promotion of Small Kitchen Appliances

Small Kitchen Appliances such as Coffee makers, Microwaves and Mini Fridges will be high on students shopping lists. Brand View analyzed the promotional activity of these categories in Bed Bath & Beyond, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Target and Walmart since 1 August 2017.

Bed Bath & Beyond, Home Depot and Target all noticeably increased the number of Coffee Machine/Maker promotions at the start of September. Bed Bath & Beyond and Home Depot also increased the average depth of cut of their promotions while Target’s remained level before dropping on 11 September. Lowe’s and Walmart kept both the percentage of range on promotion and the average depth of cut fairly level throughout the period analyzed.

Target increased the percentage of its Mini Fridge range on promotion from the start of the period, however, it was Walmart that promoted the most. Walmart increased the percentage of range on promotion from 22.5 percent on 1 August, to 38.2 percent on 12 September. Home Depot also noticeably increased promotions between 11 and 23 August.

Target had the greatest average depth of cut on Mini Fridges across the whole period. While Walmart significantly increased the number of promotions but kept the average depth of cut level across the period.

As with Mini Fridges, Home Depot promoted Microwaves significantly between 11 and 23 August. Target reduced its promotions on Microwaves. Lowe’s noticeably increased its promotion of Microwaves, unlike the Coffee Makers and Mini Fridges categories. It also increased the average depth of cut of promotions, while Home Depot and Lowe’s increased average depth of cut, while the number of promotions fell.

Looking at the promotions by brand on 12 September 2017, revealed that Bed Bath & Beyond and Home Depot focused their Coffee Machine/Makers promotions on different brands compared to Lowe’s, Target and Walmart. Bed Bath & Beyond focused its promotions on Nespresso machines, manufactured by Breville, De’longhi and KitchenAid, while more than half of Home Depot’s promotions were on Krups Coffee Machines/Makers. Lowe’s, Target and Walmart all had a significant number of promotions on Keurig and Hamilton Beach products.

Home Depot and Lowe’s both had more General Electric Microwave promotions than any other brand. Walmart had the most promotions on Sunbeam Microwaves just ahead of General Electric. Some 45.5 percent of Target’s promotions were on Oster Microwaves which were not promoted by any other retailer.

Walmart was the only retailer not to promote any Whirlpool Mini Fridges, which made up all of Target’s promotions. KitchenAid Mini Fridges were prominently promoted by Home Depot and Lowe’s but, again, not by Walmart. Walmart had a more mixed approach to promotions with Igloo as the most promoted brand.