Back-to-School- Back to Taxes

As of this past August, there will be no more tax-free weekends for NC. That’s right, you read that correctly- North Carolina repealed the sales tax holiday in efforts to increase revenue for the state. What is known as the “tax-free weekend” started in 2002, and has become a prime time for families looking to save money to purchase school supplies, clothing, footwear, sports equipment and even some electronics with no sales tax. Retailers say that other than Black Friday, tax-free weekend is the busiest shopping time in NC. However, the repeal of the tax-free holiday was erased by the General Assembly as part of the state’s tax overhaul. (According to a WRAL news report, the state lost more than 13.5 million in tax revenue on the 2012 tax-free weekend.)

North Carolinians have only celebrated tax-free weekend for eleven years, but in that short duration, marketing in North Carolina has evolved to persuade consumers to take advantage of the tax break. Companies use flyers, commercials, promotional emails, web advertisements, and even add additional discounts on top of low prices in efforts to beat out competitors by drawing in the inevitable crowds of customers to their stores. Below is an example of a promotional email, sent out by Kohl’s, which gave customers a reminder of the tax-free weekend, along with an extra incentive to bring them to the store.


Due to the slower summer season, businesses cling to these holidays to boost sales. That makes us wonder… how will the removal of tax-free weekend change future marketing for North Carolina businesses?

Advertisers and marketers know that people in North Carolina will not be as easily inclined to spend large amounts of money in such a short period of time with no extra tax break, so what are they going to do? We can only guess what will happen next year, but we predict companies will amp their creativity in the back to school season. Brands like American Eagle and Teen Vogue are paving the way and are praised for their back-to-school campaigns, which include special events such as fashion shows and a huge social media presence.

We know people are always going to have to buy back to school items, but now the main concern is are they going to buy as much without the incentive? Marketers are going to have to reinvent the way they communicate persuasive marketing to North Carolinians and deliver their new promotions in a way that our state will accept them. How do you think advertising tactics will change in NC now that there is no more tax-free shopping? Will you be spending as much money on back to school gear?

– Caroline Robinson, Meghan Carey, Morgan Jones, Savannah Valade