Brands Can Rethink Value as Inflation Hits Back-to-School Shoppers

As students and teachers kick off the 2022-23 academic year, many will be doing so in a familiar classroom setting for the first time in two years. For back-to-school shoppers, however, economic conditions are anything but normal. Rising costs due to inflation and corresponding changes in consumer behavior present an important opportunity for advertisers and retailers to take the right strategic approach this school year. 

Download our free back-to-school report to uncover recommended strategies for brands—including product category trends, insights about the unique Gen Z and Gen Alpha audiences and a top-of-class omnichannel case study on Purell®—or continue reading for a few takeaways. 

Navigating Inflation and the Supply Chain  

With prices on the rise for everyday necessities, consumer wallets are feeling the crunch. What’s more, lingering supply-chain struggles constantly put brand loyalty at risk. According to a Deloitte survey, 77% of respondents indicated higher costs or lack of product availability would push them to purchase a different item. 

As Quotient CEO Matt Krepsik shared in ANA Magazine, “Inflation will make consumers more focused on finding value to stretch their dollar,” which explains why digital promotions ranks as such an important tactic to provide value to shoppers this back-to-school season. 

Programmatic digital out-of-home (DOOH) is another strategy for brands to stand out on the way to school or at the point of sale in the grocery store aisles amid faltering brand loyalty. This capability gives advertisers flexibility to dynamically shift or turn on and off campaigns in real time if faced with supply-chain slowdowns. 

Understanding Your Audience  

Not that long ago, brands had to appeal to the parents of students during the back-to-school season. But now, buying power is shifting to younger generations who have their own set of opinions, standards and expectations and feel comfortable interacting with brands online.  

As discussed in our Gen Z eBook and supported by a McKinsey study, Generation Z tends to mobilize around companies they truly believe in and will stop purchasing brands they perceive as macho, racist or homophobic. Gen Alpha is also a cause-driven group and considers sustainability to be a top priority. 

PR Newswire reported on the rising concern for sustainability as many parents of students are willing to spend more on eco-friendly products, with half choosing environmentally friendly or responsibly sourced products when available. 

Find more trends and recommendations—and maybe even some extra credit for your brand’s back-to-school campaign—by downloading our free report below, or contact us at to put these insights into action.