It’s that time of year again. Back to school for kids, and for retailers, it’s the second biggest spending event of the year. Following the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) annual survey on back-to-class shopping trends, NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay recently stated that Americans were ready to spend, with record-breaking results.
Consumers are expected to spend record amounts for both back-to-school and back-to-college shopping this year. Back-to-school spending is expected to reach an unparalleled $41.5 billion, up from $36.9 billion last year and the previous high of $37.1 billion in 2021. Back-to-college spending is expected to hit $94 billion, about $20 billion more than last year’s record. – NRF
Primarily driven by a demand for electronics – 69% of back-to-school shoppers expect to buy electronics this year – the increase in spending equates to $890 per average U.S. household for K-12. As college students are returning to a post-pandemic experience, going all-in on spending, the spend per college student is $1,366.95 per person, up from $1,199.43 last year and double the spending since 2019.
Tracking back-to-school shopping, NRF found online stores, department stores and discount stores to be the top destinations for spending. As today’s consumers want convenience as well as a bargain, it will be interesting to see who wins out – online or brick-and-mortar stores.
Encryption – Data Protection for E-commerce Merchants
It is hard to ignore the growth in e-commerce. Statista’s survey on e-commerce growth shows that revenue in the U.S. e-commerce market is expected to continuously increase between 2023 and 2027 by 509.4 billion U.S. dollars, reaching a new peak in revenue in 2027 of 1.4 trillion U.S. dollars. This growth brings new opportunities for retailers, but also new potential threats from cyber thieves.
E-commerce retailers store a goldmine of consumer personal and financial information within their networks, making an attractive target for cybercriminals. In fact, most retail cyberattacks are financially motivated, with hackers using tactics such as phishing and ransomware to steal sensitive data, two attack types most frequently faced by this sector.
As e-commerce continues to thrive, maintaining a robust cybersecurity posture will be vital for survival. TotalRetail’s recent article featured key trends that will continue to plague e-commerce merchants – with ransomware topping the list – stating that without data encryption, cyberattacks will increase.
Ransomware attacks are ever evolving and as cloud adoption and reliance across the retail sector continues to surge, attackers will continue to follow the data. In 2023, we’re likely to see an increase in cloud-enabled data exfiltration in ransomware scenarios in lieu of encryption. TotalRetail
IBM’s 2023 Cost of a Data Breach report states that “a top priority for organizations of all types should include a focus on strong encryption.” To guarantee the strongest data encryption, security experts such as the PCI Security Standard Council (PCI DSS) recommend that merchants implement PCI-validated point-to-point encryption (P2PE).
Bluefin, the first provider of a PCI-validate P2PE solution in North America, offers P2PE and tokenization solutions to devalue sensitive data, rendering the data useless in the event of a data breach.
Learn how Bluefin can safeguard your sensitive data today.