Digital Marketing Researches & Reports

Back-to-School Consumer Pulse, June 2016 | Rubicon Project

Shopping Seasons | Global

July is the time for marketers, parents and students to set their attention on back to school. But back-to-school (BTS/B2S) shoppers generally start thinking about what they need in June and stretch out the buying process until mid-August or later.

Here are some key findings talks about consumer trends for 2016-17 BTS season:

  • 37% of K-12 parents started their shopping a month before school starts.
  • Almost half of them (49%) shopped after 5 pm.
  • Promotions/store sales are the most effective driver for 52% of parents when they purchased back-to-school items.
  • The vast majority of parents used to decide where to shop (> 70%), but they are more influenced by their college freshmen than their K-12 children (30% vs. 11%).
  • Freshmen parents plan to spend more than K-12 parents across all BTS categories. Ex: The average spend on school supplies for freshmen parents was $223 vs. $130 for K-12.
  • School supplies (93%), apparel/retail (89%), food + beverage (58%) and technology (50%) are the top categories parents shop for.
  • 73% of freshmen parents reported that they will purchase BTS items on a mobile device, compared to 54% of K-12 parents.
  • 68% of parents have a retailer app, 47% of them have downloaded “Amazon” mobile app and 33% have downloaded “Walmart“.
  • Nearly half of students own laptops (51%), tablets (51%) and mobile devices (49%), while laptops (49%) and tablets (42%) are the main intended Technology supplies to purchase.
  • 37% of freshmen parents have made purchases based on online or mobile ads within the previous week of the survey, compared to 24% of K-12 parents.

Back-to-School Consumer Pulse, June 2016 Rubicon Project


Data were driven from interviews with 1,506 (MOE ±2.53%) amongst parents including 1,000 interviews with parents of kids entering grades K-12 (MOE ±3.1%) and 506 interviews with parents of students entering their freshman year of college (MOE ±4.36%).

Rubicon Project

Established in 2007 and located in Los Angeles, California, Rubicon Project (NYSE: RUBI) is the leading technology company automating the buying and selling of advertising globally. Rubicon Project has created a new model for the advertising industry.Today, Rubicon Project's automated advertising platform is used by the world’s leading publishers and applications to transact with top brands around the globe enabling them to reach over 1 billion consumers.

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