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School is back. But shopping for it has changed forever.

Note: Verizon Media is now known as Yahoo.

Back to School

Summer is nearly here, but it’s already time for marketers to start planning their back-to-school campaigns. Once the days grow shorter, and the swimsuits get packed away, millions of students across North America will prepare to return to the classroom while their parents stock up on clothes and supplies.

Most parents anticipate in-person schooling to return this fall. However, parents feel uneasy about this transition and are still concerned about COVID-19.

Despite the concern, parents are not as uneasy as they were in 2020. According to a recent survey, 65% of parents feel motivated about having their kids return to school.1 And 68% of parents anticipate their child will return to normal back-to-school activities this fall.2

Most parents say the majority of their back-to-school (BTS) shopping will be done online this year. This isn’t surprising, considering that nearly 75% of global customers changed their shopping behavior since the pandemic started.3

As pandemic fears lessen, there is an opportunity for brands to support parents with relevant BTS content and messaging, especially since 51% of parents have a larger back-to-school budget this year than they did last year.4

Brands can help parents through the BTS transition by providing guidance as more and more things return to pre-pandemic life. Parents are looking for tips on how to support their children and how to save money.

According to parents, BTS topics that can help them make purchase decisions are:5

  • 38% want back-to-school shopping guides
  • 35% are interested in information that can help children go back to school
  • 33% want tips for saving money

For parents, spending on technology is up, with nearly 30% of consumers reporting they are shifting dollars to tech and electronics to address new realities of school.6

At Verizon Media, we know parents will take action when they are in the right mindset to see your product, and your message is placed in the right context. Our shoppable content formats provide unexpected discoveries for our readers and arm them with everything they need to take action during key shopping times throughout the year.

Use branded custom content, shoppable gift guides, and personalization from our 240 million ConnectID’s to reach shoppers you're targeting.7 Here’s an example, an online retailer ran a series of holiday gift guides, which exceeded all KPIs of 4X pageviews vs. benchmark8 and 10% CTR to client product pages from the gift guides.9

Back to school is not just about the parents. Students are a major influence in more than half of major back-to-school categories, including electronics, fitness goods, food items, school supplies, clothing and apparel, and arts and crafts.10

For retail, 67% of Gen Zers plan to spend more on fashion in 2021 than they did the year prior. For older college students, 75% browse online stores at least once a week.11

About one in four Gen Z shoppers in the U.S. said that online advertising has become more influential in their purchasing decisions over the last two years.12 And 50% of younger generations shop exclusively online.13

One thing is certain, personalized content is not only expected, it drives greater return for your brand. Nearly 65% of younger shoppers say they pay attention to brands and products tailored to their interests.14

Verizon Media knows how to reach younger shoppers. We reach 90% of 18-34 year-olds.15 Brands should create relevant and personalized interactive content, shoppable video and email marketing to drive engagement. For more information on how to reach younger shoppers, check out our Young and Influential ebook.

Ready to get started?

Work with a trusted partner who has massive scale. Verizon Media enables you to easily buy immersive, personalized and innovative brand experiences from our DSP, which reaches nearly 900 million users globally16 and has been ranked #1 by Adweek.17 Our ad solutions can help you capture attention, build trust and meet consumers wherever they are, thanks to new partnerships, such as Shopify for small businesses, extended reach on digital out-of-home, and our content suite available through Verizon Media Immersive. Connect with us today to reach your goals during the back-to-school shopping season, and all year long.

For even more insights, check out our Commerce Beyond Covid thought leadership content.


1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 12-14Verizon Media, “Back-to-School Omnibus Study,” April 2021.

4, 10McKinsey & Company, “Survey: US Consumer Sentiment During the Coronavirus Crisis,” May 2021.

6Deloitte, “2020 back-to-school survey, learning to grow amidst uncertainty,” July 2020.

7, 9Verizon Media, Internal data, Q4 2020
Student Beans Insights newsletter, May 2021.

15comScore Plan Metrix® Multi-Platform, Verizon Media (and Microsoft Partnership), Persons: 18-34, March 2021, U.S.

16comScore, Key Measures, Verizon Media (and Microsoft Partnership) Avg. Jan.-Jun. 2020, Global.

17Adweek, “The Readers Have Spoken: Verizon Media Scores Top Honors,” July 27, 2020.