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Back to School Season is Big Business for These Brands

The sun’s still out and temps are high, but families are beginning to trade beach balls for backpacks as summer vacation ends and the 2018-19 school year begins.

Back-to-school season is big business for plenty of brands. But as it turns out, we can learn a lot about what parents will buy – and the stores at which they’ll make school-related purchases – by dividing families into groups and looking at two things: how many children they have, and how old those children are.

Leveraging the Viant Advertising Cloud, Viant’s people-based platform that consists of more than 250 million registered users, we discovered some important preferences that could be a big benefit to marketers looking to receive an “A” this back-to-school season.

Big Families Buy Backpacks at Best Buy

Before the first yellow bus of the year arrives, there’s another big trip kids eagerly await: the one to pick up school supples – new backpacks, folders, calculators and more. But exactly where families go to shop depends on the composition of their homes.

We focused on two retailers that do a lot of business during back-to-school season, Best Buy and Staples. We found Staples to be the store of preference for families with teenagers, which are 59% more likely to shop there than families with younger children. Best Buy, by contrast, is in favor with households that have at least three children – those families are 40% more likely to shop there than families with only one child.

For Teens, Abercrombie’s in Fashion

While specific clothing trends change every year, we were able to uncover some differences in the fashion preferences of famiies with three or more children and those with only one child. For instance, the larger families were 36% more likely to shop at Old Navy, 30% more likely to shop at J.C. Penney and 25% more likely to shop at Abercrombie & Fitch than families with only one child.

Meanwhile, compared to families with younger children, families with teenagers are 51% more likely to shop at Abercrombie & Fitch and 31% more likely to shop at Gap.

Little Kids Love Lunchables

In households with at least three children, Lunchables reign supreme. In such homes, parents are twice as likely to pick up Lunchables brand items when at the grocery store than parents of only one child. Lunchables are also popular with younger families, as parents with children aged 7-12 are 32% more likely to buy the pre-packaged meals than parents of teenagers.

But what about families who make and pack sandwiches on their own? Our data also revealed preferences for peanut butters and spreads, as well. For instance, Nutella is popular in households with three or more kids (they’re three times as likely to pick up a jar than homes with only one child). Nutella is big with teens, as families of teenagers are twice as likely to bring home the chocolate hazelnut spread as families with young children. When it comes to peanut butter, brand preference is all about age: Teens prefer Skippy (by 32%) and younger children prefer Peter Pan (by 22%).

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