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2022 back to school spending

All the Stats You Need to Rock Your 2022 Back-to-School Campaign [Infographic]

It is officially back-to-school time. Every year, parents (and especially students) must face the inevitable: the arrival of midsummer means it is time for students to head back to school. And that means back-to-school spending, sales, trends, and marketing. And tons of back-to-school stats. Tons.

This month, we are releasing our annual Back-to-School sales and marketing post, and with it, this epic infographic (below) loaded with facts and stats about America’s second largest retail event.

Behold! The beauty of Konstantin’s design work!!

Courtesy of: The Shelf


Now, let’s dig into the data.

Spending Per Household

This year, K12 back-to-school shoppers will spend an average of $864.35 per household on school-related items, according to the National Retail Federation. When it comes to back-to-college shopping, households are expecting to spend a hair under $1,200 this year. And this includes degree-earning moms and dads.

To give you a little context, when we published the 2019 back-to-school post, spending on back-to-college supplies averaged about $977 per household. So, in three years, back-to-college spending has jumped 23 percent over where it was before the pandemic hit. And of course, that number doesn’t include tuition or housing expenses.

Top Spending Categories

School supplies and clothing remain the top spending categories. About 94 percent of back-to-school households are planning to spend on school supplies, and 88 percent of the collegebound crowd plan to spend on supplies.

Moms, dads, teens, kids, college students — whoever is doing the buying – it appears that despite the return to in-class learning, a significant portion back-to-class spending is going toward electronics (25 percent for college students vs 33% for K12 students).

It’s also worth noting that nearly half of back-to-college households will allocate a portion of their annual spend toward gift cards, though the average per household spend on gift cards hovers around $85

In-Store vs Online Shopping

We did a little digging in our article on back-to-school trends into the opportunity that exists for brands that are putting down roots in virtual environments. In previous years, we’ve only really looked at the YoY changes in the percentage of people who are shopping online versus those who are shopping in-store.

On the heels of a global pandemic, online schools, and the rise of advanced ecommerce capabilities, four in 10 back-to-school shoppers are taking advantage of emerging technologies to make shopping safe and convenient. We’re talking shoppable social posts, sure. But also digital wallets, interactive video, and virtual reality. Keep that in mind as you’re structuring your influencer marketing strategies.

emerging technologies for back to school shopping

When we first rolled out our Back-to-School post back in 2016, e-commerce accounted for just 7.9 percent of back-to-school spending (based on 2015 b2s stats). In 2018, 23 percent of back-to-school spending happened online. This year, with stores open and school in session, about half of back-to-school shopping will be online.

Discounts Play a Big Role in B2S Shopping

Okay, we are knee-deep in an economy that is in a fist-to-fist battle with of inflation. Granted, the price of eggs in my neck of the woods have increased in price by 75 percent in the last month, we’re still kind of tiptoeing around saying the words, “recession” or “inflation” out in public.

But… 👀

In the current environment, 64 percent of back-to-school purchases will be influenced by deals and promotions this year. Shoppers are already seeing price increases on staples like apparel and paper. So, be warned: shoppers are fully prepared to switch brands if their preferred brand is out of stock or if the price of their preferred brand jumps significantly.

Back to School 2022 Is Here

The bright spot for kids is that going back to school often comes with a healthy shopping allowance. The bright spot for marketers is that school shopping often starts early, climaxes with AMAZING sales in mid-July, and glides right into the holiday shopping season.

And parents, well, they (and their wallets) get sort of jammed in between kids and brands, working out the logistics of it all. Use the back-to-school statistics, trends, and strategies to kickstart your winter influencer campaigns.


Digital marketing strategies fit together like puzzle pieces.

Your influencer campaign should be one of those pieces.

The Shelf is an influencer marketing agency that creates full-funnel influencer campaigns to help brands leverage touchpoints at every stage of the purchase process.

We partner brands with Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube storytellers for campaigns customized to boost the ROI of your overarching paid digital marketing strategy.

Not sure how to integrate influencers into your larger digital strategy? We have people who can walk you through that process... and give you some great ideas along the way. Click to schedule a strategy call.

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