Success in Back to School: Marketing Strategies

Every year, the back-to-school period marks a pivotal milestone on the calendar, not only for students and parents but also for brands and marketing professionals. With the end of summer and the resumption of school activities, a bustling commercial landscape emerges, aiming to meet the educational and emotional needs of children and youth. Within this temporal context, there lies a promising opportunity for brands to unleash their most creative and effective strategies.


1. Back-to-School Consumption Statistics

To fully leverage this shopping season, understanding student and parent preferences is crucial. Below are some statistics regarding consumption patterns during this period:

  • According to Webloyalty, a significant surge in online sales is anticipated during this period, with an estimated growth of 60% compared to last year.
  • A Google study revealed that 77% of back-to-school-related purchases are influenced by students.
  • Despite 60% of searches being generic, users are increasingly leaning towards specific brands when searching for school items. In 2022, brand-inclusive searches saw a 40% increase compared to the previous year.
  • Millennials exhibit a stronger inclination toward brands. The survey indicates that 42% stated brands were a primary consideration when making purchases. Additionally, parents in this group place higher value on brand compared to Generation X parents.
  • The study conducted by Amazon Ads and Kantar unveiled that most past school supplies purchases were driven by everyday needs. 56% of consumers acquired school items because they were on their regular shopping list or were purchased routinely.
  • For the upcoming school year, parents are clear about the products they intend to acquire for the return to school: footwear (78%), school supplies (78%), clothing (73%), sports attire (58%), and books (49%).
  • According to a study by Privalia, in 2023, 60% of purchases will be made through the online channel, with mobile devices being the preferred choice.
  • A growing trend in back-to-school shopping is the reuse of products to reduce expenses and promote sustainable practices. According to Privalia, 66% of Spanish families plan to recycle products. Clothing ranks highest in reuse (71%), followed by school supplies (31%), and books (29%). However, despite being widely purchased, footwear sees relatively less reuse.
  • 88% of parents assert that they compare prices before making a purchase. The majority do so online (90%), although 49% also check prices in physical stores.

2. Beyond School Supplies

According to an analysis conducted by Tiendeo, notebooks are one of the most demanded items for back-to-school. They are closely followed by backpacks, sneakers and shoes, lunchboxes, and, lastly, school uniforms.

From essential products and services to advice and recommendations, online searches in the coming days encompass a wide range of needs directly or indirectly related to the back-to-school season.

This Back to School period not only presents a significant opportunity for brands offering stationery items, but also for businesses in sectors such as transportation, beauty, food, and health. Both children and teenagers, and even adults, are searching online for advice and information on a variety of topics related to these industries.

Happy family with shopping bags at the mall

During this period of the year, self-service, convenience, traditional, and wholesale stores are filled with promotions, discounts, and purchasing benefits with the aim of boosting their sales and making the most of these weeks.

According to data provided by NielsenIQ, the purchase of school supplies can extend for up to 8 weeks. However, the peak point of demand is centered around a specific week, estimated to take place from August 21 to 27 of this year.

3. Back-to-School Marketing Trends

The commencement of the school year presents a fresh opportunity for brands to shine. Marketing strategies play a pivotal role during this season, enabling brands to capture consumers' attention. It's not only about driving immediate sales but also about establishing enduring bonds with customers and laying the groundwork for successful future business interactions.

3.1 Emphasize the quality of your products

Due to certain geopolitical events, economies in many countries have been impacted, leading most consumers to prioritize the quality of school items over their price. They prefer to invest more money in products that offer greater durability rather than opting for those that are cheaper or on sale. For this reason, during the back-to-school season, unlike other times of the year, consumers prefer to remain loyal to brands they are already familiar with and have provided them with good results.

3.2 Omnichannel approach

The omnichannel approach is increasingly pivotal in modern marketing, particularly during the back-to-school period. Brands are acknowledging the significance of utilizing multiple channels to reach consumers at every possible touchpoint. This entails not only a physical store presence but also a digital footprint spanning email inboxes and social media platforms.

Consumers now conduct more thorough research before making a purchase. During this time, parents often explore products online they intend to buy but also visit physical stores to assess the materials before making the final purchase, either in-store or online.

3.3 Personalization and target audience segmentation

Personalization and segmentation are key strategies to grab consumer attention in an information-saturated environment. During the back-to-school season, parents often bear the responsibility for most school supplies purchases; however, it's been shown that children's preferences have a significant impact on these buying decisions. This is why brands are utilizing data and analysis to understand the unique preferences of both market segments, enabling them to craft tailored messages and offers for each.

This strategy of personalization and segmentation not only heightens the relevance of offerings but also fosters more meaningful connections with customers. By comprehending the preferences and interests of each demographic group, brands can adapt their messages and promotions effectively, increasing the likelihood of attracting consumers and nurturing brand loyalty.

3.4 Video email marketing

Video email marketing is emerging as a powerful tool to capture consumer attention and drive decision-making. Brands are integrating creative and immersive videos into their email campaigns to convey messages in a visual and appealing manner. This trend enhances message retention and stimulates interaction, elevating customer engagement to a higher level.

If you're keen on discovering how to incorporate videos in your emails, you won't want to miss this practical tutorial.


3.5 Marketplace advantage

Marketplaces have evolved into fertile grounds for brands during the back-to-school season. These platforms provide extensive exposure and reach to a diverse audience in search of a variety of products. Engaging in marketplaces like Amazon offers brands the opportunity to be part of a burgeoning online ecosystem and harness the trust consumers place in these established platforms. Moreover, it allows them to broaden their reach and enhance their visibility in the market.


Closeup of beautiful blond girl doing online shopping

3.6 Focus on sustainability and social responsibility

Sustainable and social awareness has become a central criterion for modern consumers. Brands are incorporating responsible and sustainable practices into their back-to-school strategies. From promoting eco-friendly products to engaging in social initiatives, these actions not only attract ethically conscious consumers but also demonstrate the brand's commitment to making a positive impact on society and the environment.

In conclusion, the back-to-school period not only marks the reopening of classrooms but also a time of intense commercial activity and opportunities for brands. Throughout this article, we have explored how marketing in this context has evolved into a dynamic and strategic field that goes beyond the mere promotion of school supplies.

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