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Back-to-School Lifts Hand Sanitizer Sales

August 8, 2013

Strong season ahead, according to WSL

To a shopping list that includes No. 2 pencils and notebooks, add hand sanitizers and vitamins.  A surprising 88% of shoppers surveyed by WSL Strategic Retail say they plan to spend at least the same or more as last year during the 2013 back-to-school season—and more money is being spent on health care related products. According to WSL, health care is the third most popular back-to-school category, with personal care No. 5 on the list. As one might suspect, school supplies is No. 1.
“Back-to-school has always been an important indicator of consumer sentiment and spending,” said Wendy Liebmann, CEO of WSL Strategic Retail.  “This year, 60% of shoppers tell us that they plan to spend the same as they did in 2012, and 28% say they will spend more.  This is encouraging news for retailers who saw strong back-to-school numbers last year.”
Although shoppers remain cautious, those who say they will spend more represent a cross section of all income groups – a key indicator of how important this category is to lower- and middle-income shoppers.  In fact, one-third of those busy parents who plan to spend more will even pass on the big sales in stores, saying that they are willing to pay a premium for the convenience of getting all of their back-to-school shopping done online.
“The category to watch this year is healthc are,” continued Candace Corlett, president of the firm.  “Over half of back-to-school shoppers will buy items such as hand sanitizers, vitamins and first-aid products to keep their children safe from classroom germs, making health care the number three category that parents are shopping this back-to-school season.”
What They’re Shopping For:
● 86% -- School Supplies
● 69% -- Clothing & Fashion Accessories
● 56% -- Healthcare items (hand sanitizers, first-aid, vitamins, etc.)
● 48% -- Food & Beverage (lunch supplies, after-school snacks)
● 44% -- Beauty & Personal Care
●  21% -- Electronics (computers, tablets, e-readers, etc.)
Where They’re Shopping:
● 76% -- Mass Merchandisers such as Target, Walmart and Kmart
● 40% -- Department stores like Macy’s, Kohl’s, JC Penney, Nordstrom, Saks, etc.
● 36% -- Online sites such as Amazon
● 34% -- Dollar stores including Dollar General, Family Dollar, etc.
● 32% -- Drug stores such as CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, etc.
● 29% -- Warehouse clubs including Costco, Sam’s Club, etc.
● 25% -- Malls, including Outlet malls and Strip malls
● 22% -- Specialty clothing stores
More info: WSL Strategic Retail,

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