Two weeks ago I sent my oldest son off to college. Leading up to this moment, we spent a lot of time (and money) stocking up his freshman dorm room with things to make him feel at home. Like any mom, I’ve spent the past 18 years shopping for my kids.
Well, that’s all about to change. I now have an empty bedroom in the house and a little bit of extra time to spend money on myself. While my son has his nose in the books this fall, my nose will be sniffing out updates to my wardrobe and home décor to spruce up my new guestroom.
According to IBM’s latest analytics-based retail forecast for Q3, I’m not the only mom who shares this sentiment. Here are a few of our predictions:
Category Percent Increase
Women’s Clothing 8.81%
Last year, we saw great increases in men’s categories, but this year’s projected numbers show a category swap. With men outfitted in a new wardrobe last year, women are taking advantage of the bit of extra money to spend on themselves.
IBM has been watching consumer spending over the past year gradually increase, especially in categories related to home furnishings and décor. In the second quarter, we saw the home furnishings category skyrocket. I attributed this to a desire to do more home improvement rather than move. We also know this is the Chinese Year of the Dragon, which is a trigger event for marriage and childbirth.
This quarter, our analytic capabilities are finding a correlation between the home category and the back-to-school season. Many colleges across the country are citing 2012 as having the largest freshmen enrollment compared to years past. Imagine the millions of bedrooms now vacant in American homes. Parents are going to be spending time and money focusing on renovating these rooms for guests.
IBM’s retail forecasting methodology has not only proven to be highly accurate, but it has also allows us to uncover correlations we may not have connected on our own. How many home goods retailers would have guessed back-to-school was going to help boost their sales?
This back-to-school season isn’t just about backpacks and textbooks. It’s also a trigger event for other categories. Retailers who can recognize which categories are going to be affected by this trigger, and can connect with consumers at the right time…well, they’re going to be much better positioned for success this season.
While we sit back and wait to see what happens and who gets it right, I will be at my local retail store deciding how to update my ‘look,’ as well as how to outfit my home.