It’s May, but Back-to-School Marketing Starts Now!

It’s May and the school year is winding down, but that means NOW is the time to plan your back-to-school marketing strategy for 2024! Let’s recap 2023 highlights to set the stage for 2024.

Back to School 2023

The 2023 back-to-school and back-to-college shopping season hit new record highs, with consumers spending more on electronics than any other category in 2023, including clothing and shoes.1

Forty-three percent of consumers who spent more last year said it was because they needed more new items, a 32% increase over 2022. Another third (32%) said they needed more big-ticket items such as a computer, phone, calculator or dorm furnishings. Spending on big-ticket items such as electronics and furnishings as well as necessities like food accounted for more than half of the increase in total back-to-college spending in 2023.1

Source: NRF/Prosper Insights & Analytics 2023

In 2023, more shoppers than ever started their back-to-school shopping in early July. They may have started early, but they spread their shopping out until the last minute.

Did you know?

One of the top reasons consumers give for starting back-to-school or college shopping early is that they want to spread out the spending to fit their budgets. 

These shoppers also seek out the best deals to get the most for their money. In 2023, more consumers did comparative shopping online and with printed ads, shopped sales more often, purchased more store brand/generic items, and used coupons more than previous years.1

Source: NRF/Prosper Insights & Analytics 2023

Although consumers started shopping as early as a month before school starts, the majority of back-to-school and back-to-college shopping happened 1-2 weeks before school started in 2023 and continued the week of and even after school started.

Source: Prosper Insights & Analytics 2023

What does this mean for back-to-school marketing? The opportunity to engage shoppers starts now and lasts well into August when school starts again. Leverage a coordinated multi-channel media strategy to elevate awareness of your brand and keep it top of mind as shoppers plan their purchases.2

Source: Prosper Insights & Analytics 2023

Learn more about how Mspark’s integrated marketing solutions can help you achieve your marketing goals in our case studies. Click “get started” below to connect with an expert to plan your strategy.

Back-to-School Must Have: Electronics

Beyond the usual school supplies, clothing, and shoes, electronics were an essential back-to-school purchase. Back-to-school shoppers in 2023 said 51% of their spending on electronics was influenced by classroom lists or school requirements, along with 52% of college shoppers.1  

Additional consumer research from Prosper Insights & Analytics in August 2023 indicated nearly ¾ of consumers still needed to buy basic school supplies, almost 2/3 still planned to buy clothes, and nearly half still planned to buy shoes.2

Source: Prosper Insights & Analytics 2023

Similarly, a significant portion of back-to-college shoppers delayed purchasing supplies, clothing, and other items until August of last year.

Source: Prosper Insights & Analytics 2023

Target Back-to-School Shoppers with Proven Multi-channel Advertising Tactics

Mspark’s targeting capabilities leverage numerous types of consumer demographic, behavioral, and lifestyle data paired with a mapping and targeting system that creates the optimal profile for your target customer. This ensures you are reaching the best-possible prospect and maximizes your advertising investment.

By combining the persuasive power of digital advertising with the tangible impact of direct mail, we’ve seen response rates soar by up to 450% and conversion rates increase by up to 28%.3 Including direct mail in your marketing mix can also increase web traffic by as much 50%,4 amplifying your online presence and overall campaign performance. Learn more about the power of integrated marketing campaigns.

To see how Mspark can transform your back-to-school marketing and advertising initiatives, explore our case studies and get in touch to craft a campaign that drives measurable results. Click “get started” below to connect with an expert to plan your strategy.

Sources: NRF | A look at what’s left for back-to-class shopping1; Prosper Insights & Analytics August 20232; US Modern Postcard, Direct Mail Statistics 20233; 2023 Direct Mail Marketing Benchmark Report – SeQuel Response, sequeldm.com4