No Summer Break for
Back-to-School Shopping

Ida Morris, Marketing Communications Specialist



Gone are the days when back to school shopping meant that parents brought their kids to office supply stores during the last week of summer vacation to shop for Book Sox and highlighters. Now, back-to-school shopping spans much more, including apparel, accessories, books, videos, computers and consumer electronics. Not only are parents shopping earlier and longer, but they’re also spending more money both in stores and online. K-12 parents plan to spend an average of $873 per student, while parents with college students are planning to spend more than $1,100 per student. Nearly one-quarter of parents have already begun their back to school shopping, and will continue to make purchases throughout the summer.


Improving Economy and Increase Use of Technology Increase Spending


With the economy in an upswing, parents have more money to spend on their kids. They’re spending this money on technology for school, as nearly two in five parents intend to purchase technology products such as laptops, tablets, and mobile phones to meet their students’ needs within the classroom.


Parents Shopping All Day, Everyday


Parents are shopping longer because they, too, spend more time on their mobile and tablet devices in general, and use this time to look for the best deals on school merchandise. Half of parents with college students clicked on an online ad in the past seven days and nearly half of them also clicked on a mobile ad. The majority of parents (50%), say they spend the most time shopping or researching products during regular business hours of 9:00am-5:00pm, and two in five parents reserve their shopping for after work.


Price Determines Where They Shop


Parents are spending more money, but still shopping smart. Sixty-one percent of parents said store promotions determine where they will do their back-to-school shopping. They’re shopping wherever they can get the best deals, whether it’s a big box retailer, chain store, or online.


What does this mean?


Back-to-school shopping is no longer a last-minute thought for parents, but rather a continuous process with calculated purchases. Now is a critical time for advertisers to reach these consumers with mobile, online, and in-store promotions. Parents’ spending hasn’t taken a summer break, and neither should marketers.




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