Back to School Shopping Habits

While summer isn’t over just yet, the back-to-school season is upon us, and in a big way. In fact, the National Retail Federation predicts that back-to-school and back-to-college spending will reach an estimated $80.7 billion this school year. This summer, Shopkick surveyed more than 18,000 users on their back-to-school plans and preferences.

The start of the new school year is just weeks away, meaning most parents are already shopping. Of the 9,700+ parents surveyed, 58% will do their back-to-school shopping one month prior to the start of school, while 24% will wait until one week prior, and 6% will wait for school to actually begin before they shop. 

According to our survey, 60% of Shopkick parents will be shopping for more than one child this year, and 56% of parents plan to spend $75 or more per child. A majority of back-to-school budgets will go towards apparel (55%) followed by school supplies (39%) and technology (6%). 

We uncovered informative insights on how parents will tackle back-to-school shopping, where they’ll shop, and more. We found:

    • One-stop at the Big-Box: 85% of parents will shop for a majority of their back-to-school essentials at Walmart or Target. This comes as no surprise, as 30% of parents are influenced to buy their back-to-school supplies at a particular store if they were already planning to visit for groceries, and 18% favor retailers that offer a one-stop shop for groceries, clothing, supplies, and electronics.
    • Stick to the Status Quo: While select retailers have teamed up with schools across the nation to provide digital school supply lists, 59% of parents still refer to the tried-and-true printed supply list provided by the school or teacher. 
    • Brick-and-Mortar VS. Mobile: Almost all parents (98%) plan to make at least one shopping trip to a physical retailer for back-to-school shopping. Most (53%) will make 1-2 trips, 35% will make 3-5 trips, and 10% will make over 5 trips to check everything off their lists. While brick-and-mortar shopping has mobile beat, 57% of parents plan to use their phones to make back-to-school purchases. 
    • Price gets Priority: For 81% of parents, shopping deals to get the best price is the #1 back-to-school shopping priority over getting what their child wants (10%), buying national brands they trust (5%), or purchasing private label brands for a good value (4%).

Shopkick also surveyed over 2,500 teachers to find out how they’ll approach shopping for the classroom this season. As the school season approaches, educators are planning to spend their own funds on their students. In fact, 44% percent of teachers plan to spend up to $75 per student while shopping for back-to-school, the same amount parents reported spending per child.

We also found: 

  • Pricey Pupils: 10% of teachers plan to spend over $226 per student.
  • Out of Pocket: More than half of teachers (56%) plan to purchase the majority of supplies for their classrooms.
  • Partial Credit: 18% of teachers anticipate that parents will not contribute any supplies to the classroom. 

This back-to-school season, parents and teachers can earn rewards with Shopkick whether they’re shopping in-store, or on their phones. To learn more about how Shopkick can help build awareness and drive sales for your brand this back-to-school season, contact us!



Shopkick is the fun and easy way to earn free gift cards for the shopping you already do. Download the app now!

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Dima Volovik

EVP of Product and Engineering

Dima Volovik is the EVP of Product and Engineering at Trax Retail — Shopkick.

Dima Volovik is the accomplished product and engineering leader who led teams to deliver innovative and commercially successful e-commerce products, marketplaces, and enterprise solutions for Amazon, Comcast, Fandango, and Universal Music. Before joining Trax, Dima was the Director at Amazon, where he led product development and Engineering for Amazon Appstore and Amazon Prime Video, CTO at Fandango, and Paciolan, head of technology at Golf Channel/Golf Now, and Global VP of Direct to Consumer Technology at Universal Music Group. Dima’s expertise includes developing consumer products, marketplaces, and enterprise solutions.

Dima grew up in Baku, Azerbaijan, where he received his MS in Electrical Engineering from Azerbaijan Oil Academy, and he currently resides in Los Angeles, California, with his family.