Bite-Sized Insights: Back to School

back to school spending

Each week we ask our trusted Insights panel of parents a key question. This week we were interested in finding out what their spending plans are for ‘back to school’ items for the upcoming academic year.

As ‘back to school’ purchases are a given by parents for kids of school-going age, this week’s questions focused on when parents would be making these purchases as well as on what. Take a quick read of this week’s bite-sized insights to find out what parents told us:

Would you like business-transforming insights for your brand? Use our tailored panels of engaged parents and our dedicated private platform to gather critical insights to help your decision making and activate customers. Contact us now to find how we can help.

Recommended reading: What Parents Told Us About Home Retail

We asked our Insights panel of parents if and when they plan to buy five popular ‘back to school’ items (uniforms, school bags, school stationery, lunch boxes and school books) and discovered the following insights:

  • 67% of parents plan to do the bulk of their ‘back to school’ buying in July and August
  • Across the list of items, nearly 20% of parents said that they do not plan to buy new ‘back to school’ things this year
  • School stationery was top of the important items list, with 94% of parents saying they plan to buy new supplies
  • New school bags and lunch boxes turned out to be less important, with a third of parents stating no need for these items
  • Only 15% of parents don’t plan to purchase new school uniforms for their kids this year
  • Finally, according to our panel, July is the best time to buy new school books, with 50% of parents planning to buy in that month

back to school spending

Any further thoughts on ‘back to school’ buys for the coming school year?

Comments from our panel members included:

“I like to get my back to school shopping done as early as possible in July, so that we can enjoy the summer without having it hanging over us or resorting to last minute panic.”

“I try to spread my back to school shopping out over a couple of months as I have two teenagers in secondary school, it’s costly.”

“I tend to purchase the uniform basics from Aldi, so I’m at the mercy of when they run their school uniform event.”

“I usually do my back to school shopping early to budget. Items like runners, shoes, clothes come last so they will get the wear from them.”

“It would be great if schools would go more generic with the uniform to help keep that cost down.”

“When I get the school book list will start getting all of the above school supplies apart from uniform, which will be when shop re-opens in order to get measured, as my youngest is starting school this year.”

“I usually leave it as close to back to school time as possible to buy the uniform because my daughter grows so fast!”

“I’ll be cutting back as much as possible this year, as I have less income and will be purchasing second hand where I can.”

“With funds so low, money will have to be saved up over the next three months, especially with three children.”

Actionable Insights for ‘Back to School’ Retailers

  • Parents begin thinking about ‘back to school’ purchases well in advance of the new school year and spread their purchases over the summer months. Retailers could alleviate cost related stress for parents by offering ‘buy now pay later’ integrated services like Klarna, or Sezzle at the POS.
  • Similarly, retailers looking to sell across multiple ‘back to school’ categories could look at structuring offers to go out across the summer months rather than just one early-bird offer based on date, particularly as parents want to spread the cost.
  • Parents tend to wait until the end of the summer to buy school uniforms to ensure best value for money in terms of their children’s growth. Uniform retailers could look to organise a reduced price subscription-based model to lock in customers over their school cycle. This would offer the value that parents seek and create long term customers for the retailer.
  • School stationery supplies are an important purchase for parents every year, but costs are still a concern. Stationery retailers could offer a stationery recycling scheme which offers discounts to customers in return for bringing back old supplies for recycling. This could be promoted on the retailers’ social media and have the added bonus of improving the companies’ commitment to CSR.
  • As parents prefer to buy clothes and, in particular, footwear as near to starting school as possible, retailers could consider offering appointment slots to streamline the service for parents.

Would you like business-transforming insights from parents for your business? Use our tailored panels of engaged parents and our dedicated private platform to gather critical insights to help influence consumers to deliver long term profitability. Contact us now to find how we can help.

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