Use Radio to Gain the Attention of Back-to-School Shoppers

Author: Annette Malave, SVP/Insights, RAB

It is summer! It’s the time of year for backyard parties, days at the beach and back-to-school shopping. While it may be hard to believe, families are already planning their strategy for purchasing all their children’s back-to-school (BTS) and back-to-college (BTC) needs.

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), nearly 26% of BTS (and back-to-college) shoppers had already picked up some fall class items in June. Although that may seem early to some, concerns regarding cost and supply issues are some of the reasons behind the early shopping.

The NRF projects that the spending per household will be $864 for BTS and $1,199 for BTC, while Deloitte estimates those figures for BTS at $661 and BTC at $1,600, per child or student. Regardless of the forecast source, consumer spending projections for the upcoming school year across the board are high – higher than 2021.

Regardless of the child’s age, parents still prefer to purchase BTS and BTC supplies at mass retailers, despite increased preference to shopping via online-only sites. According to the 2022 Deloitte surveys, 81% prefer brick-and-mortar mass retailers for school shopping, and 77% of college supply shoppers prefer the same.

Top items on the shopping lists consists of clothing and accessories, as well as school supplies. While electronics and technology products are on the list, spending on these items may vary based upon the age of the student with college students more likely to purchase these items.

Cost and availability are top concerns for parents, so informing consumers of sales, inventory and payment options (for high-ticket items such as laptops, dorm furniture, etc.) should be included as part of the campaign for any retailer. Using a medium that provides information on sales and availability of these goods at local businesses is just as important as the messaging. Radio is the medium to use to educate and informs parents of where to go to fulfill those shopping lists.

As we all know, radio reaches consumers everywhere they are – at home, in car and on the go. Radio also reaches 87% of adults who have a child aged 6-17 and 90% who have a child in college, according to Scarborough data.

Radio reaches parents of school-aged children. When it comes to parents who have a child in college, radio reaches:

  • 93% who bought at any clothing store in the past three months.
  • 93% who purchased anything at any office supply/service store in the past three months.
  • 91% who plan to purchase a computer (desktop or laptop).

Radio’s reach is also high among parents with children ages 6-17:

  • 89% who bought at any clothing store in the past three months.
  • 89% who purchased anything at any office supply/service store in the past three months.
  • 88% who plan to purchase a tablet.

As the cost of goods that parents need to purchase for the children’s school needs rises, savings and availability will matter. As we have seen across various categories, consumers will shift the brands they traditionally purchase if the one they buy is unavailable. However, consumers will continue to shop with local retailers that provide not only the products, but the service and savings they need during these times. Using local radio to communicate that message is a lesson every retailer should learn.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *