Uniform remains the largest sub-category, commanding 38.3% of all back to school spend

Uniform remains the largest sub-category, commanding 38.3% of all back to school spend

Supermarkets remain the UK's choice for back to school products, the findings of a new report show, with uniform remaining the largest sub-category.

The ability of market dominators like Tesco and Asda to use heavy discounting and promotions has cemented their position as the go-to destination for back-to-school products, according to data and analytics company GlobalData.

The firm's latest report, 'Back to School 2018', reveals that price, and in particular the presence of discounts, has grown in importance for consumers in 2018, with more than three-quarters of back to school shoppers stating that they expect retailers to offer promotions and discounts on back to school ranges.

While 31.9% of consumers said they felt better off compared to last year, rising prices and sustained high inflation in food has ensured that consumers are looking to make savings where possible.

Zoe Mills, retail analyst at GlobalData, notes uniform remains the largest sub-category, commanding 38.3% of all back to school spend – but adds this proportion is decreasing (3.4ppts year-on-year) as average product spend rose across most other categories."

Consumers have stated that they spent more than in 2017, but these shoppers were more likely to finance expenditure through credit cards, retailer finance options and store cards than last year.

"While social media advertising campaigns from the likes of Nike and Adidas have influenced trends in some sub-categories such as sportswear, leading to growth at specialists, market dominators like Tesco and Asda have such an established position in back to school shopping that it remains challenging for other retailers to gain traction," Mills says.

''In particular, Tesco has shown resilience as despite closing its Tesco Direct website this year, which reduced the back-to-school product range in its collection, Tesco has still performed well, highlighting loyalty among its customer base and showcasing that despite a reduced offer, Tesco was able to meet the needs of consumers."