2022
9
US Back to School Shopping Market Report 2022
2022-02-09T03:03:59+00:00
OX1099453
3695
147808
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Report
en_GB
“Back to school shopping saw a new boom in 2021, as students were excited to head back to the classroom and parents fulfilled purchases put off in the prior year.

US Back to School Shopping Market Report 2022

£ 3,695 (Excl.Tax)

Report Summary

This report provides comprehensive and current information and analysis of the US Back to School Shopping market including back to school market size, anticipated market forecast, relevant market segmentation, and industry trends for the back to school shopping market in the US.

Current market landscape

After a tumultuous 2020-21 school year, when COVID-19 caused disruptions to students’ learning situations, students and parents looked forward to a return to in-person learning and a sense of normalcy going into the 2021-22 school year. Heading into June 2021, the excitement to get back to a sense of normalcy, along with a seemingly improving pandemic situation, led to a boost in consumer confidence, which contributed to a rise in back to school shopping. Early summer sale events, like Amazon Prime Day, coupled with the news of supply chain disruptions, led consumers to shop early and take advantage of savings while inventory levels were at their peak.

However, as the summer progressed, a resurgence of COVID-19 cases caused by the new Delta variant of the virus created new uncertainty for schools, parents and students. Consumers once again navigated fluctuating school plans and policies, and they reverted to some of their shopping behaviors from earlier in the pandemic, such as limiting time spent in stores and shopping more online.

Future trends in back to school shopping market research

Ultimately, in-person learning returned for most families, but back to school preparations and shopping looked different than it did in prior years, including pre-pandemic periods, and the 2020-21 school year when the pandemic completely disrupted learning plans. This evolution into the next normal leaves consumers increasingly seeking flexibility in their back to school shopping needs, as they find new approaches to where, when and how they shop, and what items they buy.

Read on to discover more about the back to school shopping market size, read our Millennials: Online Shopping Behaviors – US – 2021 report, or take a look at our other Media, Books And Stationery Market research reports.

Quickly understand

  • The impact of COVID-19 on the school year and back to school shopping for both parents and college students.
  • Changing approach to back to school shopping.
  • How economic uncertainty drives consumer value-seeking behaviors.
  • Attitudes and influences toward back to school shopping.
  • Desired improvements to the back to school shopping process.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

This report, written by Brittany Steiger, a leading analyst in the Retail and eCommerce sector, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Back to school shopping saw a new boom in 2021, as students were excited to head back to the classroom and parents fulfilled purchases put off in the prior year. The ongoing pandemic continues to impact how consumers shop for school and what they buy, reemphasizing a need for value, flexibility and convenience. Additionally, as the return to school can bring both excitement and anxiety, consumers will gravitate toward brands that celebrate authenticity, positivity and community support.

Brittany Steiger Senior Analyst, Retail & eCommerce
Brittany Steiger
Senior Analyst, Retail and eCommerce

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • This Report looks at the following areas
    • Definition
    • Market context
    • COVID-19: US context
    • Economic and other assumptions
  2. Executive Summary

    • Top takeaways
    • Market overview
      • Figure 1: Consumers’ planned back to school (K-12) and back to college spending, in current dollars, 2016-21
      • Figure 2: Consumers’ planned back to school (K-12) and back-to-college spending, by segment, in current dollars, 2016-21
      • Figure 3: Back to school shopping outlook, 2022-27
    • Opportunities and challenges
    • Adoption of social commerce will change how consumers shop for school
    • Delivering on value and convenience
    • Authenticity, inclusivity and support for the community
    • The pandemic continues to cause disruptions
    • Key consumer insights
    • Students and parents are more excited – and more stressed – for back to school
    • Mass merchandisers still winning with consumers, ecommerce catches up with in-store
    • Student demographics are changing, becoming more diverse than ever
    • Kids are influential for back to school purchases
    • College students are on a budget but still like to have fun
  3. Market Size

    • Return to in-person learning drives record back to school purchases
      • Figure 4: Consumers’ planned back to school (K-12) and back to college spending, in current dollars, 2016-21
      • Figure 5: Consumers’ planned back to school (K-12) and back to college spending, by segment, in current dollars, 2016-21
    • Electronics drive increased spending for K-12 students
      • Figure 6: Distribution of consumers’ planned back to school (K-12) spending, by category, 2016-21
    • College students scale back in some categories to make room for electronics and dorm furnishings
      • Figure 7: Distribution of consumers’ planned back to college spending, by category, 2016-21
    • Predicting back to school shopping in 2022-23
  4. Market Factors

    • Number of households with children are still shrinking; multicultural households account for a larger share of households with children
      • Figure 8: Households, by presence and ages of own children, 2020
      • Figure 9: Households with related children under 18 in the household, by race and Hispanic origin of householder, 2020
      • Figure 10: Population by race and Hispanic origin, 2016-26
    • The pandemic continues to cause disruption
    • Inflation and supply chain challenges drive economic uncertainties
      • Figure 11: GDP change from previous period and consumption expenditures, Q2 2010-Q3 2021
      • Figure 12: US inflation rate, 2020-21
    • Unemployment gradually improves, but confidence remains low as inflation erodes purchasing power
      • Figure 13: Consumer confidence and unemployment, 2021
      • Figure 14: Disposable personal income change from previous period, 2010-21
    • Reliance on technology impacts how students learn and influences shopping needs
    • Conscious consumerism is on the rise
    • Declining enrollment in higher education
  5. Competitive Strategies and Market Opportunities

    • Competitive strategies
    • Trending on TikTok
      • Figure 15: Amazon, HP Promote back to school shopping on TikTok, 2021
    • Retailers support teachers and communities
      • Figure 16: Office Depot “Backpack Bundling Bash,” 2021
    • Big shopping events are a major draw
      • Figure 17: Amazon’s “Prime Day,” Target’s “Deal Days,” and Walmart’s “Deals for Days” campaigns, 2021
    • Brands keeping it real with inclusivity
      • Figure 18: Aerie’s #AerieREAL ambassador program, 2021
      • Figure 19: Old Navy highlights gender-neutral offerings for back to school, 2021
    • Market opportunities
    • Expanding the back to school shopping calendar
    • Leveraging school partnerships and technology to drive convenience and flexibility
    • Involving kids in the process
    • Lean into livestream shopping
    • Create new ways to save through circular and flexible shopping options
  6. The Back to School Consumer: Top Ten Fast Facts

  7. Shopping Participation

    • Back to school shopping sees a new boom
      • Figure 20: 2021-22 shopping approach for 2021-22 school year, by parents and college students, 2021
      • Figure 21: 2021-22 shopping approach compared to prior years, by parents and college students, 2021, 2020, 2019
    • Parents’ participation
    • Nearly all parents participate in back to school shopping; milestone years are a big opportunity area
      • Figure 22: Parents’ shopping participation, by who shopped for, 2021
      • Figure 23: Upcoming educational “milestones” in the 2022-23 school year, 2021
    • Hybrid learning drives more purchases of new items
      • Figure 24: 2021-22 shopping approach, by learning situation, 2021
      • Figure 25: Office Depot promotes offerings for various learning situations, 2021
    • The student population is getting more diverse
      • Figure 26: 2021-22 shopping participation, by race and Hispanic origin, 2021
      • Figure 27: Walmart, Box Tops and Lebron James Family Foundation partner to advance racial equity in education, 2021
    • College students’ participation
    • College students are shopping for themselves
      • Figure 28: Back to school shopping responsibility, college students, 2021
    • Female college students are reusing more and shopping less frequently than males
      • Figure 29: 2021-22 Back to school shopping participation and purchase responsibility, college students, by gender, 2021
      • Figure 30: Poshmark back to college focus on TikTok, 2021
    • College students’ participation in back to school shopping depends on what type of program they are enrolled in
      • Figure 31: 2021-22 Back to school shopping participation and purchase responsibility, college students, by program enrollment, 2021
      • Figure 32: 2021-22 Back to school shopping approach, college students, by program enrollment, 2021
  8. Retailers Shopped

    • Mass merchandisers are still winning back to school season
      • Figure 33: Retailers shopped – Parents and college students, 2021
    • Retailers shopped: focus on parents
    • Parents start to shift some purchases away from mass merchandisers
      • Figure 34: Retailers shopped – Parents, compared to previous years, 2021
      • Figure 35: Dollar Tree back to school post, 2021
    • Black parents seek out value at dollar and discount stores
      • Figure 36: Retailers shopped – Parents by race and Hispanic origin, 2021
      • Figure 37: Dollar General supports literacy and education through “Yellow Glasses Project,” 2021
    • Retailers shopped: focus on college students
    • College students more likely to diversify purchases across different retailers
      • Figure 38: Dormify pop-up shop, 2021
  9. Shopping Method

    • Online shopping catches up, propelled by Amazon and store pickups
      • Figure 39: Shopping method, parents and college students, 2021
      • Figure 40: Nike + Roblox, virtual world Nikeland, 2021
    • Shopping method: focus on parents
    • Millennial parents look to ecommerce to streamline shopping
      • Figure 41: Online vs in-store shopping, parents, by generation, 2021
    • Shopping method: focus on college students
    • Females and bachelor’s degree students gravitate toward in-store shopping
      • Figure 42: Shopping method, college students, by gender; current student status, 2021
  10. Items Purchased and Planned Purchases

    • Parents gear up for in-person learning
      • Figure 43: Items purchased for the 2021-22 school year and planned purchases for the 2022-23 school year – Parents, 2021
      • Figure 44: Walmart highlights hygiene products for back to school shopping, 2021
    • Back to school shopping overindexes among parents of teenage girls
      • Figure 45: Planned purchases for the 2022-23 school year – Parents, by gender and age of child, 2021
      • Figure 46: StereoType clothing promotes capsule collection, 2021
    • College students are still prioritizing the essentials
      • Figure 47: Items purchased; planned purchases – College students, 2021
      • Figure 48: Affirm + Apple back to school promotion, 2021
  11. Ongoing Impact of COVID-19

    • Pandemic’s impact on parents
    • Excitement for return to school drove back to school purchases
      • Figure 49: Impact of COVID-19 on back to school shopping – Parents, 2021
      • Figure 50: Amazon + Lisa Congdon, #BackWithConfidence posters, 2021
    • Children from diverse backgrounds are more anxious about return to school
      • Figure 51: Selected Impact of COVID-19 on back to school shopping – Parents, by race and Hispanic origin, 2021
      • Figure 52: P&G’s “The Talk”
    • Pandemic’s impact on college students
    • COVID-19 has changed the way students prepare for life on campus
      • Figure 53: Impact of COVID-19 on back to school shopping – College students, 2021
  12. Behaviors and Attitudes Toward Back to School Shopping

    • Practical aspects of back to school shopping
    • Both parents and students take a pragmatic approach
      • Figure 54: Behaviors and attitudes – Practical aspects of back to school shopping, parents, 2021
      • Figure 55: Behaviors and attitudes – Practical aspects of back to school shopping, college students, 2021
    • Sales events and one-stop shopping are top drivers for all
      • Figure 56: Select behaviors and attitudes – Practical aspects: sales events, one-stop shopping and convenience, parents and college students, 2021
    • Practical aspects for parents
    • Dads look for convenience; Hispanic dads most of all
      • Figure 57: Select behaviors and attitudes – Practical aspects: convenience and brand recognition, by gender and Hispanic origin, 2021
    • Practical aspects for college students
    • Females emphasize savings, while males go for more
      • Figure 58: Behaviors and attitudes – Practical aspects of back to school shopping, college students, by gender, 2021
      • Figure 59: Bed Bath and Beyond, Wild Fable Collection, 2021
    • Social and emotional aspects of back to school shopping
    • Shopping for school is a social and sentimental experience for all
    • Back to school shopping is getting more stressful
      • Figure 60: Select behaviors and attitudes – Social and emotional aspects, parents; college students, stress, 2021
      • Figure 61: Amazon cross-partnership with Calm, 2021
    • Social and emotional aspects for parents
    • Parents value the time spent shopping with their kids
      • Figure 62: Behaviors and attitudes – Social and emotional aspects of back to school shopping, parents, 2021
      • Figure 63: CAMP, Online experiential retail for kids, 2021
    • Black and Hispanic parents enjoy shopping with their kids, especially dads
      • Figure 64: Behaviors and attitudes – Social and emotional aspects of back to school shopping, parents, 2021
      • Figure 65: Walmart “Together Somos Más” featuring “In Search of Emma,” by Armando Lucas Correa, 2021
    • Social and emotional aspects for college students
    • College students have fun with school shopping
      • Figure 66: Behaviors and attitudes – Social and emotional aspects of back to school shopping, college students, 2021
  13. Shopping Influences

    • Shopping influences for parents
    • Parents look to their kids as their primary influence for what to buy
      • Figure 67: Back to school shopping influences, parents, 2021
      • Figure 68: Back to school shopping influences, parents, by shopping approach, 2020-21 school year
      • Figure 69: Walmart and Fun and Function highlight back to school solutions
      • Figure 70: Dove promotes self-esteem, 2021
    • Moms and dads have different influences
      • Figure 71: Back to school shopping influences, media recommendations – Parents, by gender, 2021
      • Figure 72: Tea Collective + Kidizen, 2021
    • Shopping influences for college students
    • Students look to social media and their friends to make decisions
      • Figure 73: Back to school shopping influences – College students, by gender 2021
      • Figure 74: Amazon “#Collegegotmelike” TikTok challenge
    • LGBTQ+ students are underrepresented in back to college messaging
      • Figure 75: Back to school shopping influences – College students, by sexual orientation, 2021
      • Figure 76: Urban Outfitters HBCU capsule collection, 2021
  14. Looking Ahead: Desired Improvements

    • Convenient returns on the wish list for both parents and college students
      • Figure 77: Select Desired Improvements for back to school shopping – Parents and college students, 2021
    • Desired improvements for parents
    • School list partnerships and eco-friendly options are becoming a must
      • Figure 78: Desired improvements for back to school shopping – Parents, 2021
      • Figure 79: Terracycle + SpinMaster Toys, back to school recycling program, 2021
    • Lower income, Black and Hispanic households seek assistance in various ways
      • Figure 80: Select desired improvements for back to school shopping – Parents, by household income; race and Hispanic origin, 2021
      • Figure 81: Affirm back to school post via creator Mama Jamma, 2021
    • Desired improvements for college students
    • College students want deals and events just for them
      • Figure 82: Desired improvements for back to school shopping – College students, 2021
      • Figure 83: Campus Legends, collegiate sports NFTs, 2021
  15. Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

    • Data sources
    • Sales data
    • Consumer survey data
    • Abbreviations and terms
    • Abbreviations
  16. Appendix – The Market

      • Figure 84: Consumers’ planned back to school (K-12) and back to college spending, in inflation-adjusted dollars, 2016-21
  17. Appendix – The Consumer

      • Figure 85: Retailers shopped – College Students, compared to previous years, 2021

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