Know More About 2021
Back-to-School Shopping

The Numerator Back-to-School Tracker provides weekly insight into back-to-school (BTS) related advertising, promotions, and consumer buying behavior throughout the BTS shopping season. The advertising intel leverages our Back-to-School messaging flag to track ads featuring back-to-school messaging and keywords, while the omnichannel promotional and consumer buying insights track key back-to-school categories.

Back-to-School Shopping

Overall sales of traditional back-to-school supplies are up significantly season-to-date versus 2020 and have now reached pre-pandemic levels from 2019 after seeing growth in recent weeks. Sales began picking up the second week of July, as we've seen historically in pre-pandemic back-to-school seasons, and Prime Day 2021 also gave a slight boost at the beginning of the season. Core BTS products like coloring supplies, writing & correction supplies, notebooks and folders are all seeing elevated sales versus 2020's unprecedented back-to-school season.

Back-to-School Promotions

Brands and retailers are leaning into promotions this back-to-school season, though promotions have softened slightly since the beginning of the season. Overall promoted products within Apparel are up versus 2020, while traditional School Supplies & Electronics are down slightly. Web promotions are down slightly versus last year, while weekly ads are down more significantly and email promotions are up. Staples holds the top spot for most promoted back-to-school products season-to-date this year and last, followed by Macy's and Target. Best Buy also makes the top 5 list each year.


Back-to-School Advertising

After elevated spending earlier in the season, ad spending is now down slightly versus last year for advertisements with back-to-school messaging, and is down even more significantly versus 2019. Kohl's currently has the highest back-to-school ad spend (up from #4 last year), while Walmart held the top spot last year (down to #4 this year). Target and JCPenny also find themselves on the Top 5 ad spenders list in 2021 and 2020 season-to-date.

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Looking for custom back-to-school insights for your brand or category?

Reach out to our team to learn more about how your business is performing this back-to-school season. Who are your buyers, where are they shopping, and how are your competitors advertising & promoting their products? Numerator is here to bring you the fastest, most comprehensive insights to get you back-to-business for back-to-school. 

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