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How Are Staples, Walmart, and Target Dominating Back to School on Social?

Not many people know that Back to School is the next biggest shopping season after the winter holidays, but it is: according to the National Retail Federation’s 2016 report, total spending during the Back to School season is expected to reach $75.8 billion this year.

We are actually already in the Back to School (BTS) season, which kicks off mid-July and goes through mid-September. Over 61% of BTS shoppers research online before purchasing products, and over 25% will use social media for transactional purposes, as this report from Deloitte shows.

Social media adds another dimension to every industry and season. Here are the conversations happening on social media as the BTS season began.

Top Trends Within the Back to School Conversations Powered by Social Listening by Simply Measured
Top Trends Within the Back to School Conversations Powered by Social Listening by Simply Measured

Social media conversation for Back to School centers primarily around shopping, commercials, and giveaways, as various retailers start their promotions for the season.

Consumer conversations are being generated by people who are directly impacted by Back to School: school-goers or their parents discussing promotions, deals, and availability of items.

While some school-goers are excited for school to begin, others seem to be very disappointed.

Traditional classroom supplies are the biggest category being mentioned in the Back to School conversations on social at this point, followed by video and electronics. Food and meals is the third largest category, with a big focus on Organic and Non-GMO/natural foods.

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Amongst all social media conversations about Back to School, here are the top retailers being talked about:

Retailers in BTS and their Sentiments

Staples (19.8%) has the highest share of conversations, with mostly positive sentiments. Apart from promotions and consumer comments, the conversations for Staples were also driven by their Live event at BlogHer in Los Angeles, which helped generate a lot of positivity for the retailer.

Staples was followed by Walmart (16.8%) and Target (16.1%). These shares might change in the coming weeks as other retailers step up their game and the BTS season gathers steam in August.

While sentiments for Staples and Target were mainly positive, sentiments for Walmart were quite negative. Consumers complained about long queues and few check-out counters, even though it is a busy shopping season.

Breaking down the top categories by the retailers, it is interesting to see that Ebay as a retailer gets the most mentions for clothes after Nordstrom, while Target, Walmart, and Amazon are competing in similar categories.

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We are keeping an eye on how these conversations evolve as we go deeper into the season: what are the new categories being talked about, and which retailers capture consumers’ imaginations on social? We will be posting updates right here on our Simply Measured Blog. If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to us on Twitter!

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Tripti Shrivastava

I'm a Social Media Analyst at Simply Measured. I love food, music, movies, and long walks. Let's talk about social media data!

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