The return to in-person learning sparks back-to-school shopping

Published Jul 14, 2021

Toluna Corporate

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Discussions around consumer shopping habits and the back-to-school season are in full swing.

Originally Published by Quirks

It’s only mid-July, but discussions about back-to-school season are in full swing.

Following the CDC’s news in regards to sending children back to school, research firm Toluna surveyed 1,000 Americans to better understand their attitudes about the topic.

In-person learning

According to the survey, 72% of respondents believe their child’s school will be open for in-person learning come fall 2021. In addition, the majority (76%) plan to send their children to in-person school this fall.

But there are concerns. The biggest concern around sending children back to school is worries about COVID and children getting sick (40%), followed by concerns about overall experience and in-school health protocols (21%); worries about COVID and getting family members sick (20%); and worries about social distancing protocols (10%).

Back-to-school shopping

So is it too early to discuss back-to-school shopping? Not at all, with many schools in the U.S. beginning the fall semester in late July/early August. In fact, at the time of the survey, 32% of respondents expected to begin shopping early summer, while half planned to do back-to-school shopping the month before school starts, and spend the same as last year.

A majority of respondents plan to spend more than previous years on the following back-to-school items:

  • Cleaning supplies (63%).
  • New food items/snacks (61%).
  • Sanitizer (61%).
  • Clothes (59%).

In-store vs. online back-to-school shopping

Financial Services firm KPMG also conducted a survey of 1,000 consumers around back-to-school shopping, looking at trends around online shopping for school-related items. According to the study, in-store shopping has decreased from pre-pandemic levels, while online shopping is predicted to rise to 44% (as compared to 34%, pre-pandemic).

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