While many schools across the U.S. are still deciding what fall will look like, new data shows that moms have already decided it will include more time at home – and they are shopping and getting prepared in a whole new way for the first day of class this fall.
According to a new survey by online retailer Zulily, moms say their biggest concern this back-to-school season is public health (46 percent), and the balancing act between work, parenting, and managing online learning for the kids (21 percent). While these concerns are undoubtedly a result of the pandemic, the study shows that moms now also have a newfound focus on shopping to save and planning for the unknown.
“Back-to-school shopping season is an annual event moms and kids look forward to, but this year that tradition has changed significantly,” said Lindsay Reynolds, a Zulily family shopping and trend expert. “Our new data shows that moms have a very clear idea of what fall will look like, and they’re already making plans to ensure their kids are safe, comfortable, and successful while potentially still learning from home. This year, back-to-school is a first for moms and kids alike. At Zulily, we can help them prepare and celebrate their first day in new way. By giving moms a fun one-stop destination to find everything they want for fall learning in Zulily’s Back to School Class Shop, from fiber markers for arts and crafts, to desk organizers that keep workspaces neat and tidy, they can easily stock up and save – even when it comes to the unexpected items on this year’s list.”
Top findings and trends from the survey include:
- Planning Ahead for the Unknown: Families have one advantage this fall that they didn’t have in the spring: time. Parents are using the time they have now to plan for a “worst case scenario” fall.
- 63 percent of moms say it’s at least somewhat important to plan ahead for back-to-school shopping this season, with 42 percent reporting that planning ahead will help them save.
- 54 percent of moms expect to shop online more this back-to-school season than they did last year due to public health concerns.
- Navigating Economic Pressures: This year’s back-to-school season comes at a time when many families across the country face job loss or uncertainty—making budget a top priority.
- 72 percent of moms surveyed said budget will be at least somewhat important in their back-to-school shopping this year and nearly 30 percent said they are more concerned with budget this year when compared with last year.
- Snack Stockpiling: With kids (and parents) home all day, they have unlimited access to the pantry. Grocery shopping has become a bigger worry for moms in recent months, and they’re looking for snacks that will keep satisfying the whole family, can be bought in bulk, and are easy for kids to eat while parents are working.
- 55 percent of moms say their kids are snacking more while learning from home, and 48 percent of moms are at least somewhat concerned about keeping the snacks stocked.
- Zulily data shows purchases of nuts, fruit, and popcorn are on the rise, with purchases for pantry staples such as condiments, which include mustards, specialty dips, and nut butters, growing by more than 300 percent year over year in March through June. In addition, cooking/baking mixes are up more than 200 percent year over year in March through June, signaling families are making their own snacks these days.
- Seeking Solace & Structure at Home: Moms have adjusted to virtual learning schedules, and while the process hasn’t been easy, they have identified a way to make it feel more routine by adding organization into their kids’ learning space to increase productivity and comfort.
- 73 percent of moms say their kids have designated workspaces at home, with 23 percent of moms saying they’d like to improve this space by making it more organized and exciting.
- Zulily shopping trends are backing this trend up, with purchases for storage and desk organization up by more than 25 percent year over year in March through June.
- Starting July 8, Zulily will provide mom helpful online materials to gear up for what will be a first day of school in a whole new way– including fun #FirstDayNewWay printable signs, back-to-school advice and shareable Instagram animated gif stickers.
- New Normal = New Family Traditions: With parents looking to keep kids active and entertained, new traditions have started to take shape that offer families a way to spend more time together—and the backyard and kitchen are center stage. These new traditions give kids a new kind of “hands on” learning experience.
- Forty-one percent of moms say that they’ve implemented new traditions as a result of remote learning.
- Time outdoors (29 percent) and developing new skills in the kitchen (22 percent) rank as the top new traditions for families.
- Zulily has seen more than 20 percent growth in kitchen purchases year over year in March through June.