Inmar Intelligence | May 11, 2021

Inmar Intelligence, a data-driven technology-enabled services company, today announced findings on back-to-school shopper insights, including what shoppers are buying and when they plan to make purchases. In a survey of over 1,000 U.S. consumers, Inmar Intelligence sheds light on much of the unknown when it comes to the 2021-2022 back-to-school season and offers guidance to marketers on how to navigate this key selling occasion. 
The 2021-2022 back-to-school season is quickly approaching, and while some retailers and brands have already begun planning, many are left in the dark due to the uncertainty surrounding the coming school year. Parents, students and teachers alike are grappling with unconfirmed plans for virtual, physical and hybrid classrooms, leading to confusion of what back-to-school supplies they actually need. For brands and retailers, this makes it difficult to plan back-to-school activations without knowing all the facts. 

To alleviate this confusion, Inmar Intelligence surveyed over 1,000 consumers to better understand how they are preparing for the upcoming school year and the unique challenges they’re facing to help marketers make an impact this season. Of the consumers surveyed, back-to-school shopping begins in the summer with 42 percent starting in August and some opting for an earlier start with 32 percent in July and 17 percent in June. 

How shoppers plan to make these purchases is a key insight to make note of as back-to-school shoppers are still using a hybrid shopping approach to tackle their school supply lists. But for many categories, shoppers are hoping to return to the store. For school supplies, 35 percent of shoppers will buy online and 60 percent will buy in-store. Apparel shopping will also be a mix of online (53 percent) and in-store (56 percent). 

Shoppers this year are also facing unique challenges during this time and marketers that take note of these issues can earn customer loyalty by providing solutions. Examples include: 

  • 43 percent of shoppers struggle to plan/make/pack lunches and snacks for school
  • 42 percent struggle with making dinners after school
  • 42 percent of shoppers find it challenging to find healthy options for lunches and snacks
  • 40 percent struggle to balance virtual school with work
  • 37 percent are challenged by planning/scheduling after school activities
  • 36 percent of students and teachers struggle to stay organized in their classes

“This upcoming school year may seem more “normal” compared to the last several months but there are still many questions left up in the air for the back-to-school season. For Inmar Intelligence, it’s important to do our part to help retailers, parents, teachers, and students that might be struggling during this period of time,” said Spencer Baird, EVP and President, MarTech at Inmar Intelligence. “The data and insights our team is able to provide is an undeniable resource for brands and retail marketers to better plan and make a positive impact on the back-to-school season.” 

For more information about Inmar’s back-to-school shopping insights, please download our 2021 Back-to-School Persona Guide.

Inmar Intelligence

About Inmar Intelligence

Commerce Accelerated.™

Inmar Intelligence is a leading data platform company that creates insights through Analytics, AI, Machine Learning and integrated workflows to drive faster actions and outcomes. $120B of commerce runs through our market-driven platforms, which are propelling digital transformation through unified data, workflows and fund flows — to help leading Fortune 5000 companies, emerging brands and health systems drive innovation. 

Throughout our 41-year history, we have served retailers, manufacturers, pharmacies, health systems, government and employers as their trusted intermediary in helping them redefine success. For more information about Inmar, please follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook, or call (866) 440-6917.


Holly Pavlika
SVP, Corporate Marketing
(336) 770-3596