Consumer Trends for Back-to-School Shopping

Back-to-school shopping is changing rapidly on the tail end of the Covid-19 pandemic. With an increase in vaccinations and normalcy in sight, more than half of Americans will be returning to school in-person full-time this upcoming fall. As more and more schools continue to announce plans for students’ return, parents are already thinking about their shopping and spending plans in the coming months.

What back-to-school products will be trending in 2021?

In 2020, because of Covid-19, the home became a multifunctional place–a home, a school, an office, and a gym. While some families may have had the technology for remote learning on hand, it was necessary to buy for those who didn’t. 

Last year, according to Statistica, on average, the back-to-school spending per household in the United States was $789.49, with electronics and computer-related equipment as the highest-spending category. In a recent survey, Shopkick found that more than half of consumers plan to spend most of their back-to-school budgets on apparel (60%), followed by basic school supplies (24%) – pushing technology to the third-smallest category (10%), next to dorm furnishings (4%) and books (3%).

Are shoppers considering physical or online retail stores?

Wanting a shift from online shopping, consumers are ready to go back to brick-and-mortar stores. About 92% of respondents plan to do their back-to-school shopping in-store (compared to 66% last year), while 57% plan to shop online.

For many consumers, online shopping will remain a habit: 45% of consumers who believe the pandemic will affect how they shop long-term plan to shop online more than they typically would for back-to-school products. In fact, this upcoming school shopping season, sales are expected to be 53% higher than the back-to-school season in 2019.

What is important for retail marketers to focus on?

During back-to-school shopping, consumers are looking for retailers that provide an easy solution for all their needs. To do this, retail marketers should consider: 

  1. Offering the best price: 70% of consumers say that shopping deals to get the best price will be their top priority this year44% plan to spend less on frivolous back-to-school purchases. 
  2. Bundling: offering a wide variety of products together that meet several needs at once, helps stand out from competitors. Just make sure they are available for all grade levels.
  3. An omnichannel approach: 85% of consumers say they will use their mobile devices to compare prices while shopping and to make mobile purchases. 38% also plan to take advantage of BOPIS when available.

By offering competitive prices, bundling products, and taking an omnichannel approach, retailers can stand out from the competition, increase their sales, and bring back the loyalty of their customers after a year of difficulty for many.

Shopkick is an omnichannel solution that allows brands and retailers to engage and influence shoppers throughout the entire path to purchase, in-store and online. 

To learn more about our real-time shopping data on back-to-school shopping behaviors and trends, download our e-book




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Consumer Trends for Back-to-School Shopping



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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