Back-To-School Season: Podcasts, Parents, & Purchasing Power

MaryKate Breslin, Senior Manager, Sales Research & InsightsAug 16, 2023

Podcasts are keeping parents entertained throughout the year. Let’s dig into what they want to hear from brands this back-to-school shopping season.

Summer is winding down, and the beginning of a new school year is just around the corner. If you listen hard, you can hear the collective groan of children everywhere just below the cheers of delight from parents—and brands. The back-to-school season is highly profitable, and marketing campaigns are already in full swing. With offers from screens, speakers, and inboxes competing for attention, how can advertisers get to the head of the class? Podcasts, of course.

When it comes to connecting with parents, podcasts get an A+. These household decision-makers are tuning into podcasts and taking in back-to-school ads—and we have the data to tell you exactly what they want to hear from advertisers. A recent SXM Media survey  focusing on podcast listener behaviors and perceptions around back-to-school shopping revealed key insights. Let’s dive in. 

Listening Throughout the Back-to-School Shopping Experience

The intimate podcast-listening environment allows brands to tap into a leaned-in, captivate audience. With high-impact messaging, brands can influence listeners at the most pivotal point of the purchase journey.

Half of podcast listeners with school-aged children say they listen while relaxing at home after back-to-school shopping. This presents a perfect opportunity to tailor messaging around “free next-day shipping” for last-minute necessities or those forgotten list items. Additionally, over four in 10 podcast listeners with school-aged children say they listen while driving to the store or shopping online for back-to-school supplies. For advertisers, there is no better moment than this to generate awareness, build value, and influence buying decisions. 

Reach parents at pivotal back-to-school shopping moments with podcasts

Shopping Early & Spending More

Nearly three in four podcast listeners with school-aged children say they typically plan to start their back-to-school shopping one to two months before school starts, or up to a few weeks before the start of the school year. Additionally, 79% say they plan to purchase their child’s school supplies in-store, while 65% plan to buy online through a website for delivery. But as the cost of goods and services continue to soar, it’s not surprising that over six in 10 podcast listeners with school-aged children say they plan to spend more than usual on back-to-school items compared to previous years. Their back-to-school lists include everything from low- to high-ticket items, such as clothes/shoes/accessories (82%), school supplies (76%), health supplies (67%), backpacks/lunchboxes (67%), electronics (53%), textbooks (46%), and sporting goods/fitness gear (43%).

Parents are Buying In-Store and Online for Back to School

Looking for Budget-Friendly Options

With inflation and the state of the economy, back-to-school campaigns featuring discounts, sales, and promotions on high-demand items are more likely to generate awareness and inspire action. Among podcast listeners with school-aged children, 69% say staying on budget is most important when it comes to back-to-school shopping this year. To ease financial pressure, consumers want to buy from brands that have their best interests in mind. In fact, 79% of podcast listeners with school-aged children say they want to hear about savings and offers from brands, and 45% say they want flexibility for different financial circumstances this back-to-school season (e.g., flexible payment options).

Parents want back-to-school savings

Impressed by Perks

Podcast listeners with school-aged children say they want fast and immediate delivery, free shipping, sales, promotions closer to school opening, shopping rewards for brand loyalty, and a large inventory of popular items. It’s simple: Consumers want to save time and money while enjoying convenience and perks. And a consumer-centric marketing strategy is the best way to win parents over this shopping season. Putting consumer needs, wants, and concerns at the forefront of back-to-school campaigns can help brands acquire new customers and develop a loyal fan base. 

Parents want perks in back-to-school shopping podcast ads

Podcasts are keeping parents entertained throughout the back-to-school shopping season and all year long, making podcast advertising a powerful medium for influencing their purchasing power. If you’re ready to reach household decision makers with school-aged children, let’s talk.


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