2022 Back-to-School Insight Reveals Hopeful Consumers

Kimberly Surico |
 08/12/22 |
3 min read

Back-to-School Insight Reveals Hopeful Consumers

With the 2022 back-to-school season on the horizon, consumers are gearing up for it. Online conversation reveals lots of positive sentiment and hope for a consistent and somewhat ‘back to normal’ in-person experience––and these good feelings bode well for brands, assuming they’re paying attention to it!

As we can see below, Amazon is dominating back-to-school conversations this past month, with Etsy and Apple falling in line a bit behind:

Amazon dominating back to school conversation

The reasons for this domination extend beyond its game changing ‘Prime Delivery’––though that certainly plays a role.

Amazon understands its audience and caters to it. Teachers and moms make up the lion’s share of people posting about back-to-school items they’re snapping up on the mega-retailer’s website:


And who follows moms and teachers? Other moms and teachers, between the ages of 25-54:


We see those in school or retired with noticeably less interest in back-to-school deals on Amazon, but it’s important to note that number is still substantial and mustn’t be ignored. And overall, the conversation is trending very positively––and growing, which is always a good sign for sales:


And as we mentioned in a previous post where we shared top Amazon Prime Day conversations, the effort to #ClearTheList for teachers seeking classroom supplies is smart advertising for any brand. It figures prominently in Amazon’s back-to-school success, along with giveaways for Amazon gift cards. Both find a place among Amazon’s most popular posts on the topic:


Other brands may not be capturing the same conversation volume, nor be able to right now, but the quality of conversations surrounding Etsy, Apple, and others offers intel that can help shape brand messaging and even those odds. And it’s insight that will be beneficial to have handy as we head into the quickly approaching holiday season!

Examining Niche Interests on Etsy

It’s no surprise that Etsy is the place for DIY products. Any niche brand can filter results by bestsellers––and it is great competitive intel to have. But seeing which items overall are winning lots of online love is where the rubber meets the virtual road

This back-to-school season we aren’t seeing backpacks, stylized sneakers or hair accessories winning shares, but personalized or whimsical pencil cases: 


Armed with that intel, a creator offering personalized products could promote these items and ride the trend from now till the first day of school, which is still a month away for many in the U.S.


These brands could investigate further, revealing when to push hard with their own personalized pencil case promotions. For example, below, we can see the conversation pick up on Saturdays and again on Mondays, tapering off on other days of the week:


But that’s all super specific and maybe your brand seeks more intel about the big picture. Let’s take a look!

Putting the Big Picture in Context

Zooming back out to a 10,000-foot view, we can isolate top conversations to place purchases in context of larger conversations and help us make sense of trends. And understanding trends has proven elusive for many in our age of TikTok where fads disguised as trends distract brands’ marketing dollars.

How can one tell the difference?

Trends take time. They’re the slow burn that build momentum in spurts. Oftentimes, they’re part of the cultural zeitgeist prevalent in society and although they may be novel, they make sense when viewed through this lens.

Consumers talk about trends using descriptions like “something we’ve all been waiting for” and those following it are more ‘early adopter’ or ‘niche aficionado’ as opposed to ‘everyone.’

And likewise, concerns that build over time are often impactful. Just as we see with most product categories these days, there are often larger concerns dwelling beneath the surface, including inflation, COVID and teacher resources:


With rising costs and parents cutting back, maybe having a whimsical pencil case helps ease some anxiety kids are feeling? Maybe it helps parents too? Minding the details and layering big picture insight to capture the nuance of conversations is what separates masterful brands from those rehashing last year’s sales – and losing market share.


So overall, although consumers are overwhelmingly (possibly even disconcertingly) positive about the pending school year and brands should sort out what they’re buying and why – that’s not the full story.

Brands must sort out the deeper meaning, the context and themes that dwell beneath the surface of consumer purchases. Those that do will be best positioned to create the products consumers crave, and the marketing campaigns that resonate meaningfully with them.

They’ll be able to speak to consumers’ positive emotions, while staying mindful of (and messaging out about) key concerns that matter to them. And this is what creates brand loyalty in 2022 that will last long after the kids graduate.

Be sure to reach out for a demo so we can show you the many ways NetBase Quid® captures consumer and market intelligence, as our posts here only scratch the surface of what is possible!

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