Back to School is a Battle Between the Trendy and the Affordable

Consumers are trending between affordable and trendy for Back to School retail.

As our audiences prepare to go back to school this fall—whether themselves or their children—consumers are straddling the line between what is affordable and what is on-trend. Inflation and supply chain issues have ratcheted up prices on many back-to-school necessities, but in some cases, the “it” factor has given the most popular companies an edge that overcomes the need to watch your wallet. Keep reading for a quick study on which companies are capturing audiences’ interest as they prepare for a new school year. 

Clothing and Shoes

Engagement With Clothing Brands by a US Back to School Retail Audience (%)

Consumers are favoring clothing brands with broad appeal like American Eagle, ASOS, and Zara

Heading into the new school year, consumers are favoring clothing brands with broad appeal like American Eagle, ASOS, and Zara. Other brands, including Shein, the Gap, Abercrombie, and Urban Outfitters are receiving less engagement, perhaps indicating that the aesthetic of these brands isn’t as up-to-the-minute and on-trend for back-to-school audiences this year. 

Engagement With Sneaker Styles by a US Back to School Retail Audience (%)

An increased interest in skate-style shoes may be due to the shoes showing up in trends lists and fashion shows.
1) Brands like Coach release skate shoes, while an MSCHF x Tyga skate shoe collaboration makes waves.
2) Athletic shoes begin making notable trends lists, including from publications like Cosmopolitan.
3) Skate shoes enter high fashion, as they are prominently featured in a Dior show in California.
4) Seizing the trend, many “Best Skate Shoe” lists begin appearing.

Engagement with shoe brands, on the other hand, seems to be driven more by loyalty to certain styles and brand names. Adidas and Nike command 85% of engagement, overpowering other companies like TOMS, Converse, and Skechers. Our data also shows an increased interest in skate-style shoes, perhaps due to the shoes showing up in trends lists and fashion shows. Did someone say Sk8r Boi? 

Engagement With Shoe Brands by a US Back to School Retail Audience (%)

Adidas and Nike command 85% of engagement for shoe brands.

School Supplies 

Engagement With School Supply Vendors by a US Back to School Retail Audience (%)

Inexpensive retailers are driving audience engagement, with Walmart commanding 61% of engagement followed by Target at 32%.

It’s getting to be that time again––time to pick out notebooks and backpacks! Those school supply lists can be long, and it looks like our audiences are showing interest in saving money. Inexpensive retailers are driving audience engagement, with Walmart commanding 61% of engagement followed by Target at 32% and Staples with a mere 6%. With higher costs this fall (and the end of free school lunches for all), parents are looking to save money wherever they can, and we’re seeing that impact in the school supplies category.

Engagement With Consumer Electronic Brands by a US Back to School Retail Audience (%)

In the world of electronics, Apple products are king at 50% engagement.

However, in the world of electronics, Apple products are king—for both the brand name and the product continuity—despite the higher price point. Our data shows 50% of audiences engage with the brand, followed by Google at 32%, Microsoft at 14%, and Samsung at 6%. When it comes to electronics, brand loyalty is driving engagement more than low prices.

College Living Needs

Engagement With College Essentials Retailers by a US College Living Audience (%)

Amazon receives the most engagement for consumers with an interest in college living, perhaps due to the convenience factors of quick shipping anywhere.

As college students are preparing to leave home, some of them for the first time, they are seeking affordable options to deck out their dorm rooms. Our data shows Amazon receives the most engagement for consumers with an interest in college living, perhaps due to the convenience factors of quick shipping anywhere (whether you want it delivered to home or straight to your dorm) and a broad range of products. Our audiences are also checking out Target, Walmart, and Etsy––but at 53% of the market, Amazon commands more attention than the other brands combined. Etsy, a selling platform for handmade products, received only 1% of audience engagement. 

Back-to-School Snacks

Engagement With Snack Parameters by a US Back to School Retail Audience (%)

The highest percentage of audience snack engagement is due to dietary restrictions like avoiding nuts and dairy.

Everyone needs brain food to study well, and recent data trends show that even snacking has been affected by world events like COVID-19. While the highest percentage of audience snack engagement is due to dietary restrictions like avoiding nuts and dairy, single-serve snacks also command a significant percentage of engagement at 22%. This trend is perhaps driven by the desire not to share food—and therefore germs—to prevent illness. 

Engagement With Types of Snacks by a US Back to School Retail Audience (%)

Baked goods command the highest level of engagement at 49%.

Our data also shows that audiences are most interested in snacks that are satisfying, whether nutritionally or due to deliciousness. Baked goods command the highest level of engagement at 49%, and the more nutritionally dense yogurt/granola and trail mix follow behind, trailed by candy and crackers (which aligns with what we found in our recent Food & Beverage Trends report as well!). 

Conclusion

Getting ready to go back to school is an important time of year for consumer spending, and it is shaped by many factors, including current events. Reach out if you are interested in using our data to better understand your audience’s needs. 

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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.

About Us

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.