Two children sit at an elementary school table and work on an assignment together. Back-to-school season is quickly approaching and major retailers are gearing up for the mad dash for all the back-to-school necessities. With inflation on the rise and the overwhelming amount of choice, marketers need to tailor their strategies to the current market for this busy time of year.

This year, Rakuten Advertising surveyed over 1,000 U.S. consumers who shopped for school aged children and college students to better understand their shopping plans and incentives for the upcoming back-to-school shopping season.

Here are some of the key insights from this year’s survey:

  • Almost 80% of shoppers plan to spend under $500 this year on back-to-school supplies.
  • 68% of shoppers will often or always use some form of shopping incentive during the back-to-school season.
  • Free shipping has dropped to the 4th most important savings when shoppers look for deals, behind percentage off, BOGO or B2GO sales, and coupon codes.

Incentives shoppers look for when back to school shopping

If you’re a marketer looking to stand out from the crowd this back-to-school season, you’ll need to optimize your advertising strategies and consider offering free shipping or promo codes to keep up with the pack.

Stick with the Plan.

Don’t get too caught up around inflation and the idea that your buyers won’t continue to buy their regular essentials – they will. Our survey showed that nearly 85% of consumers will keep their regular budgets, or even increase them, to buy their back-to-school supplies.

Free Shipping is a Standard.

Shoppers are ranking deals like percentage off, BOGO or B2GO sales, and coupon codes as the most important savings they look for when shopping. Free shipping used to top this list, but with retailers like Amazon, Target, and Walmart offering free shipping as a standard, consumers have begun to expect this deal when they shop online. Be prepared to meet this requirement if you want to stand out among your competition.

list of where people search for inspiration for back to school

Expand Your Scope.

Consumers are looking everywhere for inspiration on their back-to-school shopping, so utilize all avenues available to you. Use influencers, content sites, and banner ads to spread awareness and capture your audience on why your back-to-school products reign supreme.

 For more insights on how consumers plan to shop for the 2022 Back-to-School season, access our 2022 Back-to-School Report.