Wednesday to Sunday!
31 Jan – 4 Feb 2018
As the long holidays end, so a new adventure begins for many students. This adventure is particularly significant for those just starting primary school. Students need a good deal of kit for their first day (back) at school. There are many items to buy, such as backpacks, notepads, pens and pencils, etc.
The Schultüte or school cone, a German tradition now known all over the world, is often bigger than the children themselves. This school cone has already established itself in many parts of the world. School cones can now even be bought in the US. Kids in Kazakhstan also receive a bag on their first day of school. Like the school cone, it contains lots of sweets and pencils. Kazakh students also bring their teachers flowers at the start of the school year. The flower tradition can be found in Russia as well, where students always go to school on 1 September regardless of whether it falls on a working day or at the weekend. Since 1984, 1 September has officially been known as “Knowledge Day” there.
In Japan, children pack their own schoolbag, a randoseru, the evening before their first day of school. Besides slippers and gardening tools, origami paper is also an important component for those entering primary school in Japan.
But the start of the school year also means lots of money flowing into the coffers of retailers selling toys and stationery. This is the most important time of the year for them. Shops sell most school supplies between July and September. In the US, the back-to-school season has the strongest sales of the year after Christmas. This is also a time of sales tax holidays, i.e. days when the states don’t levy any taxes. This also helps simulate sales. Parents in Germany spend EUR 238 on average on school supplies when their children start primary school. In the US, up to USD 580.94 is spent on primary school students. In 2012 already, Russian parents were spending between USD 345 and USD 530 depending on how old their child was.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) estimates that total expenditure in the US at the start of the school year amounts to some USD 75 billion. According to the NRF, 37% of consumers use a smartphone to research their stationery products. And the GfK market research institute in Germany has stated that 90% of German parents look into various products before purchasing a school bag. One in ten investigate school backpacks in store before going online to buy one. Only one in five do their research online and also purchase online.
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