Global spending on electronics is set to plummet by $5 billion in 2024, in the middle of a rough economic patch. That’s a major thorn in the side for marketing managers at consumer electronics companies who are going to see this impact their sales and revenue, but luckily, it’s not all doom and gloom. The silver lining is just around the corner, and it’s called back-to-school. And if historical data is anything to go by, a huge chunk of consumers’ back-to-school budget.   

As a matter of fact, parents have already started hunting for the best bargain on that shiny laptop their kid needs for the new school year. So, let’s get cracking because the time to nail down a promotional strategy that hits the mark with consumers and brings home those big sales is now.  

This year, shoppers are expected to spend over $81 billion on back-to-school shopping in the US alone. Exciting, right? But with inflation and the cost of living still rising, parents and college students may decide to sacrifice quality for cheaper options. How do you convince them that your tech gear is THE real deal? 

That’s precisely what we are going to find out today. So, buckle up as we explore the trends dominating consumers’ electronic back-to-school shopping in 2024 and how to incorporate them into strategic sales promotions to help you hit your targets. 

What Electronics Will Consumers Buy for Back-to-School?

First of all, let’s have a look at what products flew off the shelves last back-to-school season. This way you can plan your campaigns around tech that shoppers actually need and want. 

These are the devices and accessories that sold big last year:

  • Laptops and Tablets: They are a must-have for students of all ages, whether they’re in class or at home. Last year, 51% of back-to-school shoppers planned to invest in a new laptop and 36% on a tablet.  
  • Keyboards and Mice: These go hand in hand with laptops and desktops.  
  • Smartphones: What Gen Z doesn’t spend hours on Instagram looking stuff up and even studying on their phones? Make sure to include them in your back-to-school promos, and don’t forget accessories like cases and headphones.  
  • Headphones and Earbuds: With more classes and meetings going online, these gadgets are now staple items.  

5G: This year, 5G is expected to reach its full potential. And we’re not just talking about faster internet; we’re talking about tech that blurs the lines between the real and digital worlds, offering quicker and more reliable connections. With 5G, users can access Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) on portable devices from anywhere, anytime. This shift will allow students to immerse themselves in their studies in completely new ways, transforming their learning and interaction with schoolwork.  But while most high-end electronics are already 5G-ready, consumers may not fully grasp its benefits and not actively look for 5G devices. This means you’ll have to step in, show them the ropes, and help steer them towards making those purchases. 

Interconnected Devices: A recent report by Capgemini shows that 67% of people think connected products are must-haves, with 37% planning to buy more interconnected tech devices over the next 12 months. Make sure you showcase how your products can be interconnected, creating a cool, seamless digital ecosystem that’s super easy to use. 

Direct-to-Consumer and Subscription Models: The industry is moving towards D2C and subscription models, giving brands better control over their supply chains and customer interactions. This also means more opportunities to scoop data directly from consumers and the need to create better online shopping experiences. So, make sure your website and e-commerce channels are up to scratch! 

In-store vs Online Shopping: When Covid hit in 2020, everyone switched to online shopping, and that trend’s still holding strong. Last year, 55% of people shopping for back-to-school gear made their purchases on the web. So, when planning your promotions, make sure they are visible and easily accessible both in-store and online and strive to deliver excellent customer experience no matter where your customers are shopping. 

Sustainability: This is a big deal now, with the spotlight on eco-friendly designs, recyclable packaging, and products that last longer. Sustainability not only pulls in shoppers who care about the planet, but it also attracts anyone who wants high-quality, durable tech that’s worth their money. In short, it’s all about making and promoting tech that lasts, doesn’t end up in landfills, and saves people money on repairs and replacements down the road. 

Sales Promotions to Nail Your Back-to-School Campaigns

Next up, let’s see how we can tap into these consumer and industry trends to plan a killer back-to-school promo strategy. With inflation rising and budgets tightening, families are getting choosier about their purchases. Tech devices are a big investment for parents and students, so you should offer deals that clearly address these money worries while showcasing your product’s quality. We’re also seeing a growing interest in sustainable options that promise durability and long-term savings. So, let’s check out some promo strategies that will reassure shoppers about quality and reliability while saving them money now and in the future. 

Cashback, bundles, and gift with purchase: Draw in budget-conscious shoppers with attractive cashback and bundle deals) and encourage them to spend more with buy-one-get-one offers. For example, gift a free set of headphones with every qualifying laptop or offer cashback on bundles of interconnected devices, like laptop and desktop monitors. And don’t forget to reward your most loyalty customers with rewarding loyalty programmes. 

Warranty extensions and bundled subscriptions: Roll out extended warranty offers on back-to-school tech gear. They appeal to those seeking long-lasting and sustainable options and reassure sceptical people about the durability and reliability of your products.   

Trade-In Campaigns: With more customers caring about sustainability, trade-in and upgrade offers are perfect for showcasing your recycling and refurbishing efforts. Plus, they encourage people to buy your latest and pricier tech. These offers also appeal to those who aren’t as eco-conscious by giving them financial incentives to swap their old devices for new ones. 

Partnerships with Software Providers: Why not offer device and software packages? They will make your product seem more valuable, save consumers the hassle of buying software separately, and let you collect precious customer data when they activate their subscriptions. 

Conclusion

It’s time to wrap up our exploration of how you can get the most out of your back-to-school campaigns. So, let’s recap! 

Laptops, tablets, smartphones, and smart home devices are in high demand. So, include them in your promotions, and address consumers’ concerns about product quality, affordability, and sustainability. Focus also on interconnected devices and how 5G tech can make studying and working from home a breeze. 

Throw in some sweet deals like cashback offers, bundles, or maybe some good trade-in options that promise both savings and sustainability. Make sure your website is easy to navigate and plan some sharp social media strategies to keep your brand on parents’ and kids’ minds. 

 Finally, embrace the shift towards direct-to-consumer and subscription models to improve your interactions with customers and collect precious zero- and first-party data. 

If you get all this right, you’re not just meeting consumers’ expectations, you’re blowing them away and boosting those sales big time. Just keep it simple, engaging, and focused on what your customers really want.