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Article: 2022 back-to-school trends

While inflation looms, school shopping season remains essential. Ring the bell and read on for insights and context from our own Walmart customer survey responses.

Back-to-class shopping has traditionally been a season of high growth and prosperity for retailers and suppliers. However, as parents, teachers, and students alike geared up to spend money on fresh notebooks, healthy snacks and new outfits, a Walmart Customer Spark Community1 survey revealed that (77%) of Walmart shoppers were worried that the current inflation situation would impact their ability to buy for their K-12 students. That number was even higher (81%) for those shopping for college students.

To stay ahead of the curve of inflation, retailers, suppliers, and merchants need to continually monitor and understand changes in shopper behavior. This is especially true for the 2022/2023 school year, as this may be parents’ and students’ first ‘normal’ school year since the start of the pandemic. Read more for insights from the 2022 back-to-class season for parents, students, and teachers.

Customer survey responses show spending was still strong

On average, Walmart shoppers were expected to spend more this year for back-to-school than last year due to inflation. However, this did not stop the most popular categories from remaining strong, including school supplies, apparel, electronics, home decor & organization2, and groceries. School supplies are up 14% and within apparel, boys' uniforms are up 36% compared to the previous year.

Omnichannel shopping is here to stay

Although online shopping has become the norm for many families, in-store shopping is still the preferred way to shop for back-to-school, according to the Walmart Customer Spark Community survey. The survey found that 88% of Walmart shoppers with K-12 students planned to shop in-store for back-to-school, compared to 53% on Walmart.com or the Walmart App. Furthermore, 83% of shoppers with college-aged students planned to shop in-store, versus 61% online. This underscores the importance and prevalence of omni-shopping so that customers can get what they want, when and where they want it.

The omni-shopping experience also plays a role in discovering new products. Walmart shoppers used a variety of channels to discover new products they want to buy. 68% of Walmart shoppers said they most commonly find new products by browsing the aisles while in store, while others have reported finding new products by receiving recommendations from family and friends (40%) or browsing online categories (39%).

Meet Walmart Luminate

When it comes to customers, one size does not fit all, especially during some of the biggest shopping moments of the year. Walmart Luminate customers can use Customer Perception to ask their own questions of interest to our Walmart Customer Spark Community—targeted to recent purchases down to universal product codes (UPC). You can also dig into Channel Performance to understand the omni-channel shopping experience in close granularity. With Shopper Behavior, you have access to run high-powered reports that shed light on what else makes it into the basket with school supplies.

Get connected to the Walmart Luminate team to learn more.


1Walmart first-party data, 2022.

2Home décor & organizations includes the following areas: bedroom basics, home décor, storage & organization, bath & grooming and dorm dining