Description

“Back to school season is an essential shopping occasion for families and one that sets the tone for the rest of the year in retail. In recent years, the shopping cycle has been disrupted as families navigate the stress of the pandemic, supply shortages and now inflation. Rising prices dominated the mindset this year, leading to an emphasis on value and deal-seeking. In the coming year, the savings focus will persist as parents prioritize school shopping amid economic pressures.”
Brittany Steiger, Senior Analyst, Retail and eCommerce

This Report looks at the following areas:

  • The impact of inflation on back to school shopping in the K-12 segment
  • Back to school shopping participation and approach
  • Back to school shopping time frame and methods
  • Attitudes and influences toward back to school shopping

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • This Report looks at the following areas
        • Definition
          • Market context
          • Executive Summary

              • Top takeaways
                • Market overview
                  • Figure 1: Total and per household planned back to school (K-12) spending, at current prices and in current dollars, 2017-22
                  • Figure 2: Back to school shopping K-12 outlook, 2023-27
                • Opportunities and challenges
                  • Economic pressures will drive a focus on value and deal-seeking
                    • Omnichannel shopping options add convenience for busy parents
                      • Kids drive back to school purchases
                        • Key consumer insights
                        • Market Size

                          • Parents prioritize back to school shopping amid inflation
                            • Figure 3: Consumers’ planned back to school (K-12) spending, in current dollars, 2017-27
                          • Average household spending is on the rise
                            • Figure 4: Total and per household planned back to school (K-12) spending, at current prices and in current dollars, 2017-22
                            • Figure 5: Per household planned back to school (K-12) spending, in current dollars, 2017-22
                        • Segment Performance

                          • Electronics and clothing comprise nearly two thirds of school spending
                            • Figure 6: Distribution of consumers’ planned back to school spending (K-12), by category, 2017-22
                          • Continued growth for electronics as K-12 learning embraces technology
                            • Figure 7: Consumers’ planned back to school spending (K-12) – Electronics, 2007-22
                        • Market Factors

                          • Back to school season weathers economic uncertainty
                            • Figure 8: Consumer Price Index change from previous period, 2021-22
                            • Figure 9: Consumer Sentiment Index, 2007-22
                            • Figure 10: Impact of inflation on household behaviors, by parental status, 2023
                          • American household dynamics are changing
                            • Number of households with children continues to decline
                              • Figure 11: Households, by presence and ages of own children, 2021
                            • US households are becoming more diverse
                              • Figure 12: Households with related children under 18 in the household, by race and Hispanic origin of householder, 2021
                            • Most parents of K-12 students are Millennials
                              • Figure 13: Parents of children under 18, by generation, 2022
                            • Tech advancements lead parents to leverage digital tools for shopping
                              • Sustainability is a priority for parents
                                • Safety concerns are growing in schools
                                  • Figure 14: FabKids supports Moms Demand Action
                              • Competitive Strategies and Market Opportunities

                                • Competitive strategies
                                  • Amazon softens the blow of rising prices with a sense of humor
                                    • Figure 15: Amazon takes a comedic approach to lighten the mood about inflation
                                  • L.L. Bean highlights durability based on a real-life customer experience
                                    • Figure 16: L.L. Bean “Dear L.L. Bean” 2022 back to school ad campaign
                                  • Gap Kids celebrates kids with authenticity and belonging
                                    • Figure 17: GAP Kids “Everyone Belongs” 2022 back to school ad campaign
                                  • Market opportunities
                                    • Enable pricing innovation to deliver value and savings
                                      • Figure 18: Old Navy “Price ON-Lock” helps parents save on back to school apparel
                                    • Omnichannel approach will enable flexibility and convenience
                                      • Look toward the metaverse to safely connect with kids and teens
                                        • Figure 19: Dick’s Sporting Goods launches “School of Sport” experience on Roblox
                                      • Reinvent the school shopping calendar
                                      • The Back to School K-12 Consumer – Fast Facts

                                        • Shopping Participation

                                          • Parents continue to shop back to school, despite higher prices
                                            • Figure 20: Back to school shopping participation, 2022-23 school year, 2022
                                            • Figure 21: Back to school shopping approach, 2022-23 school year, 2022
                                          • What to expect in the 2023-24 school year and beyond
                                            • Millennials make up the vast majority of K-12 parents
                                              • Figure 22: Back to school shopping participation, 2022-23 school year, by generation of parent, 2022
                                            • Educational milestones are an opportunity for engagement
                                              • Figure 23: Upcoming educational “milestones” in the 2023-24 school year, 2022
                                          • Shopping Timeframe

                                            • Parents are prepared and shop early for back to school
                                              • Figure 24: Back to school shopping timeframe, 2022
                                            • School lists, inventory and sales events drive shopping time frames
                                              • Figure 25: Behaviors and attitudes toward back to school shopping timeframe, 2022
                                              • Figure 26: Amazon’s Prime Day linked to back to school purchases
                                            • Parents with financial struggles need support
                                              • Figure 27: Back to school shopping timeframe, by household financial situation, 2022
                                              • Figure 28: Behaviors and attitudes toward back to school shopping timeframe, by household financial situation, 2022
                                          • Retailers Shopped and Shopping Method

                                            • Mass merchandisers own back to school season
                                              • Figure 29: Retailers shopped, 2022
                                              • Figure 30: Retailers shopped, compared to previous years – Mass merchandisers and Amazon, 2019-22
                                            • Dollar stores, specialty apparel and office supplies stores gained ground in 2022
                                              • Figure 31: Dollar General promotes back to school savings
                                              • Figure 32: Select retailers shopped, compared to previous years, 2019
                                            • Department stores and electronics stores declined
                                              • Figure 33: Macy’s targets younger demographic with Claire’s partnership
                                              • Figure 34: Amazon promotes its “Buy with Prime” feature
                                            • Multicultural consumers lean on value and discount retailers
                                              • Figure 35: Select retailers shopped, by race and Hispanic origin, 2022
                                              • Figure 36: Justice x Walmart launches “Powered by Girls” campaign
                                            • In-store rebounds as preferred shopping method, but mobile is on the rise
                                              • Figure 37: Shopping method and devises used for online shopping, 2022
                                          • Items Purchased and Planned Purchases

                                            • Apparel and school supplies top school shopping lists
                                              • Figure 38: Items purchased for the 2022-23 school year and planned purchases for the 2023-24 school year, 2022
                                            • Electronics purchases skew higher income, older children
                                              • Figure 39: Electronics purchases for the 2022-23 school year and planned purchases for the 2023-24 school year, 2022
                                              • Figure 40: Texas Instruments gives calculators a personality
                                              • Figure 41: Best Buy plans to have opened 100 Teen Tech Centers by 2025
                                            • Multicultural families invest in their children’s school year
                                              • Figure 42: Select planned purchases for the 2023-24 school year, by race and Hispanic origin, 2022
                                              • Figure 43: EPIC Everyday offers inclusive designs for kids
                                          • Impact of Inflation on Back to School Shopping

                                            • Deal-seeking behaviors dominate amid higher prices
                                              • Figure 44: Impact of inflation on back to school shopping, 2022
                                              • Figure 45: Rakuten promotes cashback on back to school purchases
                                            • Financial struggles lead parents to make difficult choices
                                              • Figure 46: Impact of inflation on back to school shopping, by household financial situation, 2022
                                            • BNPL is a largely untapped opportunity for back to school season
                                              • Figure 47: Impact of inflation on back to school shopping – Usage of BNPL, by key demographics, 2022
                                          • Shopping Influences

                                            • Kids have strongest influence, but promotions rise in importance
                                              • Figure 48: Back to school shopping influences, 2022
                                              • Figure 49: Select back to school shopping influences, year-over-year comparison, 2019-22
                                            • Gen Z, Millennial parents more driven by media
                                              • Figure 50: Select back to school shopping influences, by generation of parent, 2022
                                              • Figure 51: Influencers share back to school shopping tips on TikTok
                                            • Promotions are critical for lower-income and struggling households
                                              • Figure 52: Back to school shopping influences – Promotions and coupons, by household income and financial situation, 2022
                                          • Behaviors and Attitudes toward Back to School Shopping

                                            • Parents employ a range of approaches to get the job done
                                              • Figure 53: Behaviors and attitudes toward back to school shopping – Shopping approach, 2022
                                            • Convenience still matters
                                              • Figure 54: Select behaviors and attitudes toward shopping approach, by gender of parent, 2022
                                            • Opportunity to reinvent the school shopping calendar
                                              • Back to school shopping can be an emotional experience
                                                • Figure 55: Behaviors and attitudes toward back to school shopping – Shopping experience, 2022
                                                • Figure 56: Hollister adds “Share2Pay” option to enable safe teen shopping
                                              • Retailers and brands can help families manage back to school stress
                                                • Figure 57: Happy Nation brings positive vibes to back to school season
                                              • Younger parents look for a new approach to improve the experience
                                                • Figure 58: Select behaviors and attitudes toward back to school shopping, by generation of parent, 2022
                                                • Figure 59: Kidpik highlights the convenience of subscription-based shopping, 2022
                                              • Sustainable shopping options will continue to rise in importance
                                                • Figure 60: Attitudes toward sustainable shopping options, by key demographics, 2022
                                                • Figure 61: GoodBuy allows parents to find sustainable and conscious alternatives, 2022
                                              • Financial pressures add to an already stressful process
                                                • Figure 62: Attitudes toward back to school shopping stress, by household financial position, 2022
                                            • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                              • Data sources
                                                • Sales data
                                                  • Consumer survey data
                                                    • Consumer qualitative research
                                                      • Abbreviations and terms
                                                        • Abbreviations
                                                        • Appendix – The Market

                                                            • Figure 63: Consumers’ planned back to school (K-12) spending, in inflation-adjusted dollars, 2017-22
                                                        • Appendix – The Consumer

                                                            • Figure 64: Shopping approach, by school age of child shopped for, 2022

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