Back to School 2018 – The Battle for Domination

Oluwatofunmi Ayodeji Posted by Oluwatofunmi Ayodeji

Every year parents prepare their children to return to school. Which means that every year retailers are in a battle to be the leader in sales. From August 1st – 15th looked at which retailers were competing in the battle. Here is what we found

Adthena was able to see that there were

  • 432 competitors
  • 1,660 unique Ads
  • 12,286 Ads

Search Terms 

“Back to School Sales” an American cashback website looked like they were winning this competitive search term earlier in the month, with a 50% increase in the share of Impressions within 10 days. But the online competitor Romwe and JCPenney continued to climb as well as new entry Poloralphlaurenfactorystore, increasing to 41% in the period of 4 days.

“Back to School Shirts”

Sears joined the market on August 8th targeting the following search terms – ‘back to school clothes’, ‘back to school shirts’, and ‘back to school backpacks’. They were able to increase to 39% from August 8th-25th but they soon dropped due to ASOS and Boohoo, who entered later on the 14th gaining 29% on 18th. Zappos also increased gradually above 30% over the past 19 days.

Back to School Supplies

Amazon one of the biggest companies today in online shopping were heavily targeting this search term with 90% share of impressions on the 18th trying to fend off Dollar General’s aggressive ramp up over the few days. From 14th – 17th August, Amazon were able to increase to 45%.

Search Term: Dorm Bedding

From 14th – 16th, Macy’s increase by 38% showing a budget increase.

Staples back to school sale

Adthena was able to see that there was a brand bidding war between top players Staples, Office Depot, and Target. We noticed that Office Depot and Target were also targeting “Staples back to school sale” with Office Depot largely appearing on over 50% impressions at times.

Walmart back to school sale

Office Depot were targeting Walmart terms with 15% share of impressions, but since dropped off, suggesting that this particular strategy was unsuccessful.

Back to school backpacks

Adidas appeared in this search term as well as, ‘back to school shoes’, and ‘back to school clothes’ over 5 days during 7th – 11th, hitting a peak of 36% share of impressions, then dropping out. Suggesting they decided that this was unsuccessful at the time. This means that Adidas could reenter, something that other retailers would need to watch out for.

Back to school clothes (Old school vs New Online Retailers)

Battles between newer online retailers inc. Romwe, Zulily, and Shein all seem to be winning over traditional stores inc. Sears, JC Penney, and Children’s Place. But, JC Penney did peak on August 13th but then decrease in 40% in share of impressions the same time that Romwe increased to 40%. Sears were also fighting back and increased to 44% from the 12th – 18th.


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About the author

Oluwatofunmi Ayodeji
Oluwatofunmi Ayodeji
Oluwatofunmi is a Marketing Intern at Adthena from The University of Greenwich. She works alongside Lorna Gill helping with social posts, events, emails, content and more. Her hero is Bill Gates and would love to meet him one day.