OOH’s role in back-to-school campaigns

The 2021 back-to-school shopping season came with many challenges for both families and the marketers that wanted to reach them. This year, parents face a different type of threat, inflation. To help brands get a take on current trends, Talon Ireland surveyed more than 200 Irish families with children in school to find out their shopping plans for this year.

Amid heightened expectations from consumers on quality and value, the task was to find out how consumers will be feeling heading into this back-to-school season and share some insights into how brands strategise. Most anticipate back-to-school shopping to take place in July (34 per cent), August (29 per cent), with 27 per cent having started in June.

Caroline Decourcy (above), research and insights director, Talon Ireland, said that despite inflation, consumers plan to spend for the upcoming school year, with most families (37 per cent) estimating a spend of between €200-€400, followed by 28 per cent spending between €400-€750 and a smaller number, 18 per cent, estimating an outlay of over €750.


Consumers will be shopping across several stores, with Tesco being the most popular (65 per cent), followed by Dunnes Stores (60 per cent). Some 52 per cent of respondents intend to keep it local, by spending in school supply stores close enough to where they live. Forty per cent plan to shop across high-street, shopping centres and local stores.

Around one in four shoppers will use a mix of in-store and online. Only four per cent of consumers will be doing all their back-to-school shopping online, which shows that there is a growing comfort with a return to in-store shopping. With the back-to-school shopping season already begun, what can advertisers and brands do to make the most out of this time of year?

Based on Talon’s findings, here are a few points brand owners should consider:

  1. Local communities are still vitally important. Even though we may finally be at the point of a post-pandemic new normal that does not mean local communities should be forgotten when planning campaigns. Many consumers now, more than ever, are making a conscious effort to shop local. Therefore, it is important to still include these areas in campaign plans to reach audiences.
  2. Despite Inflation, spending power is still prevalent for back-to-school shoppers. Talon’s findings suggest that this will be a highly competitive back-to-school shopping season with many consumers checking out multiple stores. July looks set to be the most popular month although many back-to-school shoppers had started buying before that.
  3. Brick and mortar is still an area of focus. Even though consumers are shopping more online, back-to-school shopping is likely to be done in person. Advertisers should still focus their campaigns on driving footfall to stores with campaigns that include directional messaging to the nearest location or prompt shoppers by displaying quieter times to visit.

Bounce Insights conducted the online survey of a main urban sample of 200 Irish respondents between the ages of 18 and 54 with children of school age, either primary, secondary or both. The research was conducted for Talon Ireland at the end of May 2022.

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