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Hitwise Ecommerce Technology

The biggest back to school ever for online retail?


By Kyle O'Brien, Creative Works Editor

August 18, 2016 | 2 min read

Back to school has always been a big time for America’s big retailers. Target, Walmart, Staples and other stores roll out the red carpet for parents and students, and local shops and college bookstores, along with electronics retailers, trip on themselves to capture parents’ and students’ coveted dollars.

It’s a trend that won’t be reversing anytime soon, according to Hitwise (a division of Connexity). The company, which measures behaviors across devices, says that 2016 will be the biggest back to school season ever, based on visits to the Hitwise Retail 500, a collection of the top online shopping sites.

It found that visits were up 2.6 per cent during the four weeks ending August 13, 2016 versus the same period a year ago, which equates to approximately 100m more online shopping visits this back to school season so far.

Looking at some of the products that are benefiting from this retail surge, shoes, backpacks and electronics top the charts for all age brackets. These “hot products” are taken by looking at the increase in rank position of nearly 6,000 unique search variations tracked weekly in the Hitwise hot product list between the four weeks ending August 15, 2015 and the four weeks ending August 13, 2015.

In the college "hot products" list, the Yeezy shoe and the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 rank highest, while high school and middle schoolers are hip to the iPad Pro and the Ghostbusters backpack.

Hot college products for back to school
Hot middle/high school products for back to school

Elementary school kids gravitate towards the Lands End lunchbox and, not surprisingly, a Pokemon backpack.

Hot elementary school products for back to school

If these products are off the digital shelves when you shop, try some of the others on the Hitwise list if you want your student to stay in the trends.

Hitwise Ecommerce Technology

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