When Summer Ends, School Begins – Meet the Back to School Shoppers

Summer’s on the way — and that means Back to School season will be here before you know it.

With spending on Back to School and college supplies surpassing $75 billion last year according to the National Retail Federation, the opportunity to connect with shoppers online is huge. But who should you be targeting in the months to come, and what’s the best way to reach them?

Based on ShareThis social data and intelligence comprised of millions of social signals, we’ve got new insight into two key Back to School audiences: Moms and Students.

Here’s what we learned, and how it applies to your Back to School marketing campaign.

Say hello to multi-tasking moms

This audience of Back to School shoppers knows what they want and will seek out relevant content on the platforms that are most convenient. They lead busy lives! But knowing where and when they’re engaging with content reveals some clear media usage patterns.

They share content at midday and late at night

Whether they work out of the house or stay at home with the kids, these shoppers are most active between 11 am and 2 pm — the lunch hour and peak baby nap time. While shares drop off around 7 pm, activity spikes again when the household is quiet, between 9 and 10 at night.

11am – 2pm

9pm – 10pm

Their mobile device is always nearby

A mobile phone is a mom’s best friend. The Multitasking Mom is 74% more likely to use a smartphone than the general ShareThis audience, and 42% more likely to use an Android device. When they view, share, search for, and click Back to School content, it’s with a device in hand.

Back to School clothing isn’t all that’s top of mind

Sure, these shoppers spend time buying Back to School clothes for their families, but they’re also thinking about what to do in their downtime. The content topics that interest them most include Action & Adventure and Romance movies, along with TV Guides and Adventure Games for the kids.



Action and Adventure Films


Romance Films


TV Guides


Adventure Games



Men’s Clothing


Children’s Clothing

Meet the purposeful students

These 18 to 24-year old students put their schoolwork first. Jobs & Education, Computers & Electronics, Books & Literature, and Business content are most likely to catch their eye — but their media consumption habits can be surprising.

They value social networks like Tumblr and Twitter, along with email

Unlike Multitasking Moms, who under-index on Twitter by 38%, student shoppers tweet 32% of all their shared content. They also look for Back to School content on Tumblr, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and are apt to share it with friends via email.

Distribution of shares by channel









Move over, mobile: students shoppers like their desktops.

While these Back to School buyers are likely to own a mobile device, they’ll be sharing content on their laptop or the computers at school. In fact, they’re 89% more likely than the general ShareThis audience to use a desktop computer.

You won’t find them online at night!

Think students spend all night on the web? When it comes to content, 42% of shares occur just before and after lunch — 3 pm sees an impressive 8,000 shares per hour! — while nighttime sharing activity is almost nonexistent.

11am – 3pm

Limited sharing activity

Interested in learning more about these audiences? Download our one-sheet for the complete collection of ShareThis Back to School insights.

About ShareThis

ShareThis has unlocked the power of global digital behavior by synthesizing social share, interest, and intent data since 2007. Powered by consumer behavior on over three million global domains, ShareThis observes real-time actions from real people on real digital destinations.

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