As marketers and communicators are aware, back to school shopping is one of the biggest retail moments of the year—and new research from global influencer marketing platform LTK reveals that this season will be defined by two main factors: affordability and convenience.
According to the firm’s newly released Back to School Shopping Trends Report, while inflation is altering shopping behaviors, consumers are finding ways to manage price pressures and inventory shortages. They’re shopping earlier, shopping online, and relying on creators to help make purchase decisions.
Shopping early for deals and products in stock
Consumers are already starting to work on their back to school checklist. According to the study, the back to school shopping window is expanding this year—running from late June through early September. Nearly one-third plan to shop between late June and early July, and the majority will shop for back to school items by the end of July. Consumers are shopping earlier to find affordable options and products that are in stock.
Buying online to save money and time
In addition to shopping earlier, more people are turning to online shopping to help save money and time. Buying online was the second ranked money-saving strategy according to the research, with the majority shopping from their phone. Millennials and Gen Z do the majority of their shopping online by about 10 percent over the general population. Gen Z led that group with more than 65% saying they will shop online to save money.
Top back to school products: Difference in Gen Z priorities
The top items consumers are looking to purchase this year include shoes, followed by backpacks and other core supplies like pencils and notebooks. As for Gen Z, they are prioritizing electronics, personal care and beauty products, women and men’s clothing and food and beverage more than the general population and millennials.
“Inflation is having a profound impact on shopping behaviors. For retailers to win the largest segment of back-To-school shoppers, Millennials and Gen Z, they must be in market earlier and promote longer with more emphasis on mobile online including buy online pick up in store and partnering with creators to drive traffic online and instore,” said Rodney Mason, Head of Marketing, Brand Partnerships at LTK, in a news release.
Influence on purchase decisions
Creators are having an impact on consumer shopping behaviors. LTK’s survey found that people are turning to creators to help them find the best deals and make thoughtful purchases. Overall, LTK data shows that creators rank right under friends and family when it comes to online shopping recommendations, but Gen Z said they trust creators even more than friends and family. And in fact, LTK data shows that an influencer post is driving almost as much traffic in store as it is online. Creators are helping consumers save time and money by finding the best deals and items that are in stock. Six in 10 (61 percent) LTK creator posts provide sales and deals alerts—helping the shopper find affordable options.
The reported data is from two surveys conducted in May 2022 among 1,026 participants and 1,052 participants, both reflective of the US population with 97% confidence.