Back to School Shopping Habits: Survey Results

It may feel like the school year just ended and that summer is finally in full swing, but the back-to-school shopping season has already crept upon us. Back-to-school is the second largest shopping season of the year, and parents are already prepping. 

While there’s still plenty of time to bask in the summer sun, two-thirds of parents plan to kick off their back-to-school shopping a month prior to the first day of school. We surveyed moms and dads across the country to find out when, where, and what they’re shopping for this year.

According to our survey, most parents are planning to do their back-to-school shopping in-store rather than online. Despite the ease and convenience of online shopping, 88 percent of our survey participants plan to hit big box, one-stop retailers like Target and Walmart for their back-to-school needs. However, online shoppers are rolling out the big bucks, with 60 percent reporting that they plan to spend over $100 per child, compared to 44 percent of brick and mortar shoppers.

We uncovered informative insights on which parents will handle the shopping, and what their game plans are to tackle back-to-school sales. We found:

  • Pocketbooks Over Pouts: 87 percent of parents cited finding deals as their top priority rather than satisfying their kids.
  • Moms Over Dads: Only 4 percent of dads plan to handle back-to-school shopping. A boon for kids as mom will spend more with 45 percent planning to spend $100 or more per child, versus only 38 percent of dads.
  • Fashion Over Function: The majority of spend will go to apparel (62 percent), followed by school supplies (32 percent) and groceries (5 percent).
  • Fortnite Over Family Time: Nearly a third of kids (29 percent) would rather stay home and play Fortnite, than go back-to-school shopping.

We also asked our participants how they satisfy grumbling tummies, and found out which brands made the top of both parents’ and kids’ lists of lunchbox staples.

  • Homemade Wins: Although more than 50 million people consume pre-packaged combination lunches annually, when it comes to school lunch children prefer a homemade meal (54 percent) or a school-provided lunch (30 percent) over the readymade winner (17 percent), parents report.
  • Sweet Snack: Oreos are the crowd favorite lunch box treat (52 percent), followed by Sour Patch Kids (19 percent), Haribo Gummy Bears (17 percent), and Twix (11 percent).
  • Say Cheese: Every lunch needs a bit of crunch, and cheesy snacks lead the way. Kids prefer Doritos (43 percent), followed by Cheetos (23 percent), Lays Potato Chips (23 percent) and Takis (11 percent).
  • Thirst Quenchers: To wash it down, kids mostly sip on juice and water (40 percent and 33 percent respectively), with milk (15 percent) and soda (7 percent) trailing behind.

While we may not be ready for summer to end just yet, with Shopkick, parents can turn their back-to-school shopping trips into fun, rewarding, and memorable experiences for both themselves and their children.  

To learn more about how Shopkick can help boost back-to-school sales for your brand, feel free to contact us




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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.