Ingenico: Brits Eschew Amazon in the Back to School Shopping Front

September 11, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

There are three major shopping events in the UK. Two won’t surprise you, but one might. Black Friday and Christmas are two, and you’re likely not at all surprised. The third is Back to School, which might be a surprise. It’s not that back to school shopping isn’t a big deal everywhere, but one of the biggest is a big deal. In a new study sent our way from Ingenico and YouGov, this major shopping extravaganza is actually leaving Amazon out in the cold.

The new study of 2,000 British consumers says that 52 percent actually finish their shopping before July has concluded. Ingenico’s own payment data meshes with this, as there’s a substantial spike in payments in the last days of July, which tapers off into functional oblivion with the August holiday travel season.

With this also comes some procrastination; men delay such purchases to the last week, or even after the term has started, in 14 percent of cases. Women only follow suit in six percent of cases. The younger set, meanwhile, also delay; 18-24 year olds finish shopping by July’s end in 27 percent of cases, while 35-44 year olds are finished in 72 percent of cases.

As for where they shop, this may be the biggest surprise. High street stores or online retailers are almost half–45 percent–of spending, while 38 percent turn to marketplaces like Amazon. That means a serious opportunity afoot for smaller retailers, and even for brick-and-mortar to step in.

In fact, the combination of points here suggests a clear strategy. We know that most get their shopping done by the end of July, and we know that they’re increasingly willing to shop somewhere besides Amazon. So one of two strategies is possible here: one, retailers can focus on the bulk of shoppers and front-load discounts to get more shoppers interested in any one particular shop. Two, retailers can go niche and focus on the last-minute shopper with special deals designed to get the laggards in the door.

Regardless of which plan is used—maybe even both—it’s clear that Amazon’s stranglehold on the market is far from universal. Retailers have lessons to learn with back to school shopping just as much as the students going back to school do.