One of America’s longest sales events, Back to School (BTS) draws a wide range of buyers each year on the hunt for deals. Deloitte’s annual back to school survey predicts that during this season alone, 29 million households will have spent a total of $27.6 billion.

While “back to school shopping” was historically viewed as an in-store activity, eBay trends indicate that advertisers should also be developing robust e-commerce activation plans for this time of year. Whether it’s for top-selling fashion brands or the latest laptops and electronics, millions of shoppers turn to eBay’s marketplace for new sales and unique items. On average, 7x more buyers  purchase from BTS categories from mid-July through the beginning of September than they do at the beginning of the summer, and BTS-related purchases increase by 20% .

The shopping boom attracts active buyers from all demographics and audience types, many of whom shop on eBay year-round. During BTS, marketers who work with eBay can leverage its popularity and high user traffic to reach new buyers who fit their brand’s target audience. By challenging common assumptions about who shops during BTS, brands can discover how they fit into the craze.

Find New Audiences with Cross-Shopping Data

As BTS products fly off the shelves (so to speak), eBay can measure activity by the second. In fact, within just one second, eBay shoppers will have searched for 21 BTS products, though purchases occur at only a slightly slower rate— 1.6 seconds, on average. For more insights on BTS trends, we developed an infographic illustrating top-selling items and brands in BTS categories.

Marketers can use eBay’s audience targeting solutions to think beyond selling to traditional back to school shopper targets and reach their unique target audience profiles. In fact, audience data suggests typical demographic targets like millennial parents make up less than half  of eBay’s BTS shoppers and therefore miss a great deal of buyers. Advertisers may instead want to shift their attention to other audience segments—like eBay’s “Mancave Masters” lifestyle persona or the “Pop Culture Connoisseurs” segment, who are each about 250% more likely than average eBay users to shop for BTS items, perhaps motivated by discounts and sales.

This insight has big implications for advertisers, who can also market non-BTS items because buyers shop across other categories. eBay’s cross-shopping data provides this insight, resulting in both greater efficiency in targeting and deeper knowledge of the motivations and preferences of their target audience. And eBay’s shop-alike targeting can be leveraged through different seed audiences: a pixel placed on a brand site, through modeling on top of our own purchase data or through a CRM match with an advertiser’s audience.

Bucking one-dimensional stereotypes of BTS shoppers is the first step for marketers to develop targeted advertising and join in on the phenomenon. Best of all, advertisers will make connections with eBay-loyal audiences they won’t likely find anywhere else.

Want to join the BTS rush next year? Learn more about eBay’s Audience Matching Tools and contact our ad sales team today.