New Research: What Teachers and Students Want from Brands for Back-to-School in 2020

As summer winds down, the pandemic still shows no signs of ending. Plans for the new school year are constantly changing, and students and teachers are struggling with an uncertain future. Brands have a special opportunity to provide support—and win new customers—with meaningful offers that support them through the crisis.

To find out what these customers need, we conducted our seventh annual marketing to teachers survey, in partnership with Agile Education Marketing, and launched a new survey of more than 500 college students. 

The results of the surveys, presented in our back-to-school report How Brands Can Support Teachers and Students during Uncertain Times, make one thing clear: students and teachers need support with flexible offers they can use as their needs change.

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The Pandemic Has Shifted Spending Patterns

Not surprisingly, school closings have led to a greater need for technology. Our teacher survey revealed that when kids were in the classroom, 3 in 4 teachers spent more than $100 of their own money to support their teaching, especially on school supplies. After schools closed, teacher spending shifted; 43% bought technology to support teaching from home.

Student spending has also changed. Deloitte indicates that 4 in 10 parents expect to buy fewer traditional school supplies, and that technology spending is up 28%.

How Brands Can Win Students and Teachers

Students and teachers want special offers on things that they can use in their everyday lives. Promotions on products or services that improve learning or provide fun will have huge appeal for both groups. 

Technology purchases top the list for students and are second for teachers, but 97% of teachers would use a teacher discount on school supplies. And both teachers and students savor their downtime—more than seven in 10 of both groups want special offers on entertainment and restaurants. Offers on streaming media services appeal to 73% of students.

Shoppers are hungry for such offers—83% of students and teachers have used personal discounts. Purchasing will remain strong, too. According to Deloitte, school spending will reach $28.1 billion, or $529 per student.

In times of uncertainty, consumers want brands to deliver experiences that meet their new needs with empathy, care, and concern. Brands that want to make a difference to teachers and students need to show up for them directly with offers that can help them wherever learning takes place—at home or in the school.

Read our Back-to-School Report 2020: How Brands Can Support Teachers and Students during Uncertain Times

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