96% of Parents to Buy Back-to-School Products this Season, Numerator Reports

89% of Consumers Expect Inflation Impact; Cutbacks Expected on Clothing, Backpacks, Electronics

CHICAGO July 27, 2022 (GlobeNewswire) – Numerator, a data and tech company serving the market research space, has published findings from its 2022 Back-to-School survey of nearly 2,400 households to understand parent sentiment, shopping plans, and inflation impact. Overall, back-to-school shopping will continue to evolve from prior years as the majority of households prep to send their children back to in-person schooling, but inflation is expected to impact planned purchases and increase cost-saving measures, such as buying items on sale, reusing old supplies, and switching to cheaper brands.

Key findings include:

  • Almost 9 in 10 consumers (89%) expect inflation to impact their back-to-school shopping. Almost everyone is expecting rising prices to impact their shopping, with 28% expecting the inflation impact to be significant.
    • Staple back-to-school categories could see pullback due to inflation. More than one-third of consumers (35%) plan to cut back spending on shoes and clothes, 26% on backpacks, 24% on electronics, 21% on craft supplies, and 18% on crayons, markers, and colored pencils.
    • 98% of back-to-school shoppers say they will find ways to cut spending, including buying items on sale (74% of consumers), looking for online deals (52%), reusing old supplies (50%), using more coupons (41%), switching to cheaper brands (36%), shopping at more dollar or discount stores (28%), and buying fewer items (26%).

  • Families are prepping for in-person schooling. 78% of households say their children will attend school exclusively in-person this year, up from 64% of parents & guardians in 2021 and 18% in 2020 – a shift that could result in cutbacks on products for online / hybrid schooling.

    • Reduced COVID-19 concerns translate to reduced sales for certain hygiene products. With COVID-19 concerns at their lowest point since the beginning of the pandemic, parents & guardians are planning to buy fewer face masks (-42 points vs YA), hand sanitizer (-14 points), and disinfecting wipes or sprays (-9 points) this year.
    • Electronics were purchased by 35% of parents & guardians in 2021. As online schooling takes a back seat to in-person education and families look to curb costs, technology could see fewer dollars this year.

  • Consumers are starting their back-to-school shopping earlier this year. 21% of shoppers said they had started their back-to-school shopping in June, up three points vs YA. Nearly two-thirds (62%) plan to have their shopping done before August, and an additional 26% plan to finish by August 15.

  • Children and schools have influence during back-to-school shopping. 44% of consumers expect to purchase items requested by the school, 42% will let their child(ren) choose some of their own back-to-school items, and 38% will have their child(ren) tag along for back-to-school shopping.

  • Back-to-school shopping will skew heavily to in-store, mass retailers. Nearly nine in 10 consumers (89%) plan to shop at Mass retailers for back-to-school supplies, followed by 36% who plan to shop at online-only retailers, 22% at club stores, 12% at drug stores, and 8% at specialty retailers.

    • Among those consumers who plan to shop in-store, the most popular retailers for back-to-school items are Walmart (83% of consumers), Target (64%), Dollar General (23%), Sam’s Club (16%), and Costco (14%).
  • Consumers plan to spend over $100 on back-to-school products. 48% of shoppers plan to spend more than $100 on their products, and only 13% expect to spend less than $50.

Numerator’s 2022 Back-to-School survey was fielded from 6/27/22 – 6/30/22 to 2,396 parents / guardians with children in grades K-8. The report showcases overall consumer plans as well as comparisons to their back-to-school purchases last year.

About Numerator:

Numerator is a data and tech company bringing speed and scale to market research. Numerator blends first-party data from over 1 million US households with advanced technology to provide 360-degree consumer understanding for the market research industry that has been slow to change. Headquartered in Chicago, IL, Numerator has 2,000 employees worldwide; 80 of the top 100 CPG brands’ manufacturers are Numerator clients.