Personalization makes mark on BTS spending

Despite an economy that’s still in the doldrums, the back-to-school season means parents will once again open their wallets for the annual shopping ritual. “We expect spending to be up again modestly this BTS season — most likely in the low- to mid-single digits,” said Perry James, president of the NPD Group division that follows the category.

James sees product personalization still driving the school supplies category. He said consumers are willing to pay more for products they can customize. “Products that allow consumers to show their individual style, such as patterned Duck brand duct tape and Sharpie Fabric markers, have become popular,” he said.

Mechanical pencils still are strong, James said, with high single-digit growth. “Mechanical pencils continue to be very popular for back to school, and parents are willing to spend more money on them as opposed to traditional wood-cased pencils,” said Susan Lanzarotto, director of stationery marketing at BIC Consumer Products USA.

Lanzarotto said colors and bold writing also are driving the segment. BIC has introduced BIC Cristal Bold and BIC Velocity Bold ballpoint pens, which feature a 1.6-mm ballpoint for extra-smooth and extra-bold writing. BIC’s Shimmers and Velocity ball pens in assorted fashion inks also address the fashion trend.

On the home-office front, James said that as companies become more accepting of working at home, a boom in small office/home offices has begun — a trend NPD calls SOHO. Drug stores, James said, are in an ideal position to capitalize on the trend since they are high-traffic, high-
frequency outlets.

 

The article above is part of the DSN Category Review Series. For the complete Back To School Buy-In Report, including extensive charts, data and more analysis, click here.

 

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