Back-to-School Shopping Is In Full Swing Despite Unknowns Surrounding School Settings this Fall, According to Inmar Intelligence’s Back-to-School Shopper Insights Report

Inmar Intelligence | August 13, 2020

Inmar Intelligence, a data-driven technology-enabled services company, today released data from its 2020 Inmar Intelligence Back-to-School Shopper Insights Report, which reveals survey data from 8,000 U.S. shoppers that shows how consumers are approaching back-to-school shopping this year. Given the level of uncertainty around virtual, physical and hybrid classroom settings due to COVID-19, how have shoppers altered their traditional back-to-school shopping lists and shopping channels to account for the uncertainty? 

The answer is: they haven’t. Consumers are still shopping for back-to-school items even with the uncertainty around the 2020 school year that COVID-19 has created. Of the shoppers surveyed for the Back-to-School Shopper Insights Report, 54 percent plan to shop in-store and online for their back-to-school items. Eighty-five percent of shoppers plan to shop at two or more retailers, but their purchasing decisions are influenced: 70 percent of shoppers say discounts are an extremely or very significant factor in how they choose where to shop and 73 percent say a wide selection of products and items are an extremely or very significant factor.

“Back-to-school shoppers are looking for brands and products that will easily fit into their updated routines, which will likely look very different from years past,” said David Mounts, Chairman and CEO of Inmar Intelligence. “It is important for retailers and brands to be agile in their messaging across all channels in order to stay relevant and match how the consumer is feeling as fall approaches. To do so, our Retail Cloud allows retailers to seamlessly integrate their digital coupons, loyalty programs, programmatic media, onsite media, influencer marketing, in-store media, e-commerce and other marketing solutions to ensure all messaging remains consistent. This dynamic approach creates a true omnichannel experience that can be altered as needed based on consumer response.”

When asked which category of items are on their back-to-school shopping lists:

  • 71 percent plan to purchase school supplies
  • 56 percent plan to purchase apparel items
  • 54 percent plan to purchase germ-fighting items 
  • 44 percent plan to purchase grocery items
  • 37 percent plan to purchase household items for their classroom or dorm
  • 30 percent plan to purchase homeschooling supplies in anticipation of an extension of virtual at-home learning 

“Back-to-school shopping looks a lot different this year, for shoppers and retailers alike,” said Mounts. “Regardless of the educational settings, retailers have a big opportunity to capitalize on the shopping season, especially as more and more shoppers are planning ahead and are making deliberate purchases versus impulse buys. Reaching shoppers prior to their purchase and seamlessly integrating e-commerce, along with shopper loyalty and flexibility with returns, are all key areas that play a role in the purchasing decision, and ones where retailers should focus to maximize sales in the short term.”

For more information about Inmar Intelligence and its Retail Cloud, visit