Back to School 2020

Download: PowerPoint | COVID-19 States: Schools Reopening (Excel)
Note: PowerPoint has a link to the Excel that requires "Slide Show' mode to view.

In this unprecedented year, back-to-school uncertainty is at an all-time high. Spending plans will be uniquely different as consumers navigate through ever-changing school reopening guidelines. Despite lingering questions about what the schoolyear will look like, back-to-class spending is expected to reach a record high of $101.6 billion; with $33.9 billion expected to be from back-to-school spending and $67.7 billion from back-to-college.

The upcoming school year will see a variety of school start dates and methods of instruction – either in-person, online or a hybrid of both. TVB put together the COVID-19 States: Schools Reopening (Excel), which summarizes back-to-school changes due to COVID-19 in each state and the District of Columbia. It provides general state guidelines for reopening schools as well as school start dates and planned methods of instruction for each state’s most populous city. Whether consumers will be shopping online or in stores, and whether they need new electronics for online learning or new clothes for in-person schooling, retailers can drive purchases by using local broadcast TV to target all shoppers based on their geographic location & needs.

Here are some major back-to-school insights:

  • Planned back-to-school total spending is projected to be $33.9 billion and back-to college spending is projected to be $67.7 billion, making back-to-class a major spending event of 2020.
  • 88% of back-to-class consumers say the Coronavirus will affect their shopping in some form this year.
  • School start dates vary from city to city & state to state with numerous and varying guidelines in place. Local TV allows advertisers to target each consumer geographically.
  • During the pandemic, local broadcast television news was the #1 trusted source, while its websites/apps were the highest trusted digital source.
  • 43% of back-to-class consumers are planning to shop more online.
  • Consumers will be buying more electronics this year specifically to accommodate virtual learning.
  • Broadcast TV reaches online shoppers, and influences traffic and search selections. It also delivers back-to-school ratings & reach.


Source: NRF 2020 Back-to-School/College Spending Survey


Source: TVB. All dates are subject to change. Image updated Aug 11th.

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