As September has arrived, many eCommerce sites are shifting focus to the lucrative back to school items. Schools for one will look much different post pandemic. There could be permanent changes in many aspects. However, interesting shopping patterns are likely to emerge this season as data continues to inform retailers. From university to kindergarten, remote learning is going to have a big impact on these shopping decisions. This has been introduced across Canada and other countries as in-person classes become more rare. It spurred purchases earlier in the year to accommodate new needs.


Polling and research company Leger conducted a study for the Retail Council of Canada. It found that Canadian are predictably doing less back to school shopping in 2020 than the same time last year. The average back to school spend is almost $200 lower than this time last year which is significant. More significant is how much of this business has gone online in that time period. Particularly when considering the impact the pandemic has had on consumer and business habits. The study also says considering more people are buying back to school items than last year. At this point, that is a predictable trend this year. Interestingly, about 50% of Canadians indicated that habits have been changed by the growth of eCommerce. Particularly, free shipping , pick up from store, but online and other eCommerce options.


Back to school shopping choices have changed from the traditional clothing or stationary items. According to big retail chains like Walmart, electronics sales have been the most popular items this season. Items like laptops, tablets have seen an increase in sales compared to previous years. Computer monitors, mice, keyboard, projectors and similar items have seen strong sales.  In Canada, some British Columbia schools have gone as far as advising parents to purchase devices with detachable keyboards. These devices should be usable on a tablet or a laptop. Their growth forecast in the coming quarter remains strong.  Home office furniture and other more practical essential items. In store shopping is still seems to be popular although it has also reduced. Public Health and safety guidelines in many countries have shifted people online to purchase these items. In short, the beginning of a new normal in education just began.