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E-commerce Insights for back-to-school reveal social media trends

In a just-released report detailing back-to-school retail trends as shown through social media, insights into how consumer behaviours have changed in the COVID-19 era, the trends taking shape around back-to-school 2020 and how retailers can prepare have been revealed.

In the first six months of 2020, there have been more than 657K social messages about the topic of going back-to-school – 40.3K of which have included the keyword “safe” or “safety” according to new data from Sprout Social. As the return to school this year will likely look different compared to past years, retailers can use social data to better understand their customers as their needs continue to shift. The research shows:

  • Consumer engagement with retailers on social skyrocketed this year 
    • The average number of engagements retailers received on posts the same day they were published increased by 40% in Q2 2020 compared to Q2 2019
    • Retailers saw a 72% increase in the average number of daily inbound messages in Q2 2020 compared to Q2 2019
  • Volume of conversations related to retail is up. 
  • The most engaging networks for retailers in the first half of 2020 included:
    • Instagram: 69 comments/replies per day
    • Facebook: 64 comments/replies per day
    • Twitter: 41 comments/replies per day
  • Consumers aren’t just looking for deals, they’re also looking for ways to make donations to schools, teachers and students struggling to afford school supplies
    • Message volume around keywords like “donate” or “donation” for back-to-school have already increased 5,770% in Q2 2020 compared to Q1 2020
  • Consumers’ back-to-school lists look different compared to past year
    • Last year, consumers shopped for traditional supplies (backpack, notebooks, uniforms). This year, social listening data shows consumers are shopping for masks, hand sanitiser, thermometers and other safety and sanitation-focused products
    • Safety is a major topic of discussion. The volume of messages that included the keyword “safe” or “safety” reached over 40.3K and garnered a total of 596.3K engagements between January 1 and June 30.

Retailers must convert insights from engagement and conversations into actions, and deliver what consumers are looking for in the new normal.