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Back to School sector showing signs of weakness year on year.

When compared to the Back to School activity in 2014, we are seeing a small decline in 2015. Our comparative analysis so far is on data for June – August and there is a small drop-off in the tracked advertising activity, down 5% on the previous year. However when you look within the numbers there are some individual trends that are concerning. In 2014, 89% of the Back to School activity occurred between June to August, so it appears that the Back to School season is definitely a little weaker in 2015. Back to School advertising activity in 2014 was driven by the Department store sector.

Department store activity, in the 2014 season, represented 34% of all Back to School activity. In 2015, June to August, it so far represents 30% of all Back to School activity. The Department Store activity is down 15% triple the overall decline, which is a worrying statistic for the major sector in Back to School spending. They are two major players in this sector Cave Shepherd and Woolworth.

June and July Back to School Spend 2014 vs 2015 – Department Store Segment.

Woolworth is showing positive growth in advertising, growing its activity, year on year by +45% while Cave Shepherd the major player in the sector is -21% down. Woolworth by increasing its activity in 2015 by 45% has been able to double it’s share of voice, in the Department store sector. There is still some time left in the Back to School season that could change our analysis but the numbers seem to be pointing to weakness driven by fall off in the traditional leader in that sectors spend.

At Media InSite, we tracked around 29 different brands in 6 different sectors running Back to School advertising in 2014. Advertising was tracked across traditional media vendors Press, Radio and TV. Radio was the winner with 56% of the activity, followed closely behind by Press with 36% and TV that comes in a distant third at 8%.

Above is the 2014 full Back to School season broken down by Newspaper, Radio and TV.

Back to School ads were tracked from June to September 2014.

Below we show the breakdown of the Back to School activity by sector with a comparison between 2014 and 2015 using only the data from June and July.

2015 is 5% slower with much of that contraction traced to a dramatic fall in Radio advertising from 2014 to 2015. Interestingly 2015 has seen some positive growth with the emergence of new sectors participating in the Back to School season. We see new activity in the Shipping / Packing and Delivery Services, Household Maintenance and Trade Groups and Associations. This increased activity is very marginal relative to the dominant Retail and E-tail Stores. Even though 2015 is showing a couple of new sectors dipping their toes into the Back to School season, this positive effect is negligible compared to drop offs from the traditionally active sectors.

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