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Back to School & College 2021

Back to School Overview PDF (TVB members: when logged in, full study PPT link will display)

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 school year had many students learning in a hybrid mix of in-person and remote learning, but 2021 looks to be a return to normalcy for many. According to Deloitte, most students will return to the classroom full-time this fall, but 30% of children will still have some online learning to begin the school year. Due to this, the NRF expects that back-to-school and back-to-college spending in 2021 will surpass recent all-time highs. According to TVB’s 2021 back-to-school shopping analysis, whether consumers will be shopping online or in stores, retailers can drive purchases by using local broadcast TV to target all shoppers based on their geographic location and needs.

Here are some major 2021 back-to-class insights:

  • According to the NRF, Back-to-class spending is expected to surpass recent records, with back-to-school projected to hit $37.1 billion & back-to-college reaching $71 billion.
  • Broadcast programs during the summer far surpass even top cable originals.
  • 35% of back-to-school shoppers will go in-person to buy, while 30% will be online and 26% will be a hybrid of both.
  • For both online and in-store shoppers, TV ads are important.
    • 92% of moms and 93% of adult 18-24 respondents said TV ads influenced their search selections.
Back to school spending will increase 16%
Source: 2021 NRF back-to-school survey
School dates vary city to city
All dates & methods of reopening are subject to change. Updated 7/13/2021.
Broadcast TV Tops in summer ratings
Source: Nielsen NPower 6/1/21–7/8/2021. Broadcast (Includes Syndication) & Cable Live+1 Ratings. Moms= Women 18-49 w/ children <18

For more information, please contact Hadassa Gerber, Chief Research Officer, TVB