Influencer Marketing Trends

2024 Back to School Marketing Trends

By Editorial Staff

Summer is only just beginning but any seasoned marketer will tell you that that only means one thing: back to school 2024 is fast approaching and needs to be top of mind. Why? The top five United States consumer spending events are, in order of how much spent: back to college, back to school, winter holidays gifts and celebrations, mother’s day, and father’s day. 

Source: National Retail Federation 

In both 2022 and 2023, back to school–not to mention back to college–saw more spending during their events than the winter holiday season did. Additionally, total back to school spending across the United States has risen from $26.2B in 2019 to $41.5B in 2023.  So back to school is kind of a big deal, especially in marketing; but when are the dog days of summer coming to an end?

When does the Back to School Season Start? 

Kids’ dread to get back into the classroom because of the marketing campaigns that they start to see everywhere begin generally towards the end of July. However, depending on the location of consumer you’re targeting, your timing may vary: 

  • United States: anywhere from mid-July to mid-September, depending on the state 
  • Canada: early September 
  • Mexico: end of August 
  • Spain: mid-September 
  • Germany: between late July and early September 
  • France: early September 
  • Italy: early September 
  • Brazil: first week of February 
  • New Zealand/Australia: January/February 
  • Japan: April 1

However, according to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) early back to class shopping survey, as of early June, one in five, or 22%, of parents and students have already started their shopping for back to school 2024-2025 season.

Back to School 2024 Marketing Trends

From savings to shopping exclusively online, back to school 2024 has a lot of marketing trends, so let’s review them before that first bell rings! 

Savings, savings, savings! 

According to Deloitte’s 2023 back to school survey, the prices of school supplies have increased by 23.7% in the past two years. It’s no wonder then that, according to the NRF, 68% of shoppers say they typically plan their back to school shopping around retailer events like Prime Day and Labor Day and 4th of July sales. Many consumers are even going further, Deloitte parent polling finding that 77% of consumers say that they would switch brands if prices became too high. 


Strategy: Run special discounts and promotional events

According to ibotta’s annual back to school survey, 98% of consumers said that they’d be looking for deals for at least one category of items that they plan on buying. Target back to school 2024 shoppers by running special discounts for specific back to school promotions: 

  • Work with Your Local School District: Many elementary school-aged kids receive back to school prep lists of what they’re expected to bring with them to the classroom on the first day of school. In working with your local school district you’re not only ensuring that parents and teachers are able to buy all of the items they need at affordable prices, you’re surely making money too. 
  • Promotional Contest/Sweepstakes: Students of all ages can be highly motivated by a contest or sweepstakes, especially if the prize is worth their while. Back to school 2024 contests or sweepstakes prizes should look like a new laptop, iPads, or a large sum gift card to a popular retail store. 


Homeschooled Kids

According to the Washington Post, homeschooling is now the fastest growing form of education in the United States. With teacher shortages and less support for students that need the extra help in the classroom, this is hardly a surprise. While homeschooling households do spend 15% less than public/private school households do, estimates that the average homeschooling household could spend between $700 and $1,400 per year per student on materials.


Strategy: Brand Partnerships

Many homeschooling parents rely on online resources to help guide them through homeschooling. In partnering with influencers that are former teachers, current teachers, or tutors, brands have a good chance of getting themselves in front of this audience. Additionally, brands could consider partnering with influencers that are also homeschooling parents as well in that many homeschooling parents watch the YouTube channels or TikTok videos of parents that are also homeschooling for tips and resources. 


Values and Morals

When it comes to a product’s value, it’s not always just about the price. Deloitte found that parents concerned about their child’s mental health (about 50%) plan to spend 8% more than the average back to school shopper. Additionally, 50% of parents are also now choosing to spend more on environmentally friendly or responsibly sourced products when possible.


Strategy: Positive Morals Marketing Campaigns

  • In 2022, Gap’s back to school marketing campaign was titled “Everyone Belongs,” and featured photos and videos of children of all different ages, races, and sizes interacting with each other. This campaign was successful because it shows the consumer that Gap cares about ensuring that all children feel included and feel like they matter. 

  • Nature Valley launched an environmentally friendly back to school campaign rewarding families that made sustainable choices. They then took this campaign onto TikTok, challenging users to post themselves doing something sustainable under #RetokforNature for the chance to win access to Nature Valley’s Retok Store. There they could shop for free back to school gear including items in collaboration with L.L.Bean and Stasher. 

Closing Thoughts

Try to enjoy the summer sun for just a little bit longer! Back to school 2024 is almost here, but following these marketing trends and strategies is sure to have you receiving an A+.

This article was written by Alyssa Micalizzi

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