Instrumented Interconnecteds Intelligent

By Jill Puleri, IBM Global Retail Leader

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%

Beauty                                     12.11%

Home                                      8.39%


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.

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Posted by: Jayna Zechman
May 18, 2013
8:36 am

Before you do anything to change your home decor – whether it’s just one room or the entire house, ask yourself (and others in your family, if it’s a group decision), what do you want to accomplish. Is it just to get a fresh look with a new color on the walls, or is it to really throw out the old and start all over again? If it’s a new wall color you’re considering, make sure the paint you purchase will compliment your existing furnishings. Don’t rush out to your nearest home supply store and purchase a can of paint because it’s on sale or your think the color will do. Get several paint swatches and bring them home.-;“

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Posted by: Harley Strubel
October 3, 2012
3:18 am

AS the school start parents and the whole retail market will be busy in buying the school products and the home products!! It’s good to mention the percentage about the products;more over the statistical data will enhance the perfect result!!

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