June 27, 2023


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Disney Advertising

Back-to-school memories can be vivid. From outfit finds to cool backpack picks and classic No.2 pencils, the memories are real! In an effort to better understand how parents are approaching back-to-school shopping for the 2023 school year, we surveyed Disney Parents* of elementary, middle, and high school kids to uncover their back-to-school shopping secrets, and how advertisers can elevate this memorable experience for consumers.

Here are key advertiser and brand insights among Disney Parents:

They’re favorable towards back-to-school ads: 81% are favorable towards back-to-school ads and nearly 20% shared they are actively looking for advertisements to tell them what they should be purchasing.

Back-to-school ads drive action: After seeing a back-to-school ad, 61% researched a product, 57% visited a company website and 47% purchased a product.

Read on to learn more about this audience.

Back-to-School Shopping is a Tradition


of Disney Parents plan to go back-to-school shopping before the fall 2023 school year.
They feel that it sets the tone for a positive return-to-school experience and mentally prepares them for the year ahead, with 92% agreeing that back-to-school shopping feels like an important part of their routine before each school year.
More specifically, they’ve shared that it’s…

Back-to-School Shopping is a bonding experience

85% of Disney Parents who plan to do back-to-school shopping think of it as a way to spend quality time with their children, and most of them enjoy it (78%)!
When back-to-school shopping, Disney Parents find it is more of a:

86% Shared Activity

“I tend to shop with my child”

14% Personal Activity

“I tend to do the shopping on my own”

In their own words:

For some families, it’s treated like an event (that includes food)

It Provides an Opportunity for Kids to Express Themselves

Disney Parents often use back-to-school shopping to better understand how their kids’ interests, style and personalities have changed year over year. They appreciate that it gives their kids a chance to express who they are in a new way.

  • “Back-to-school shopping lets me see how their interests have changed, or stayed the same. It also allows them a chance to try new things, clothes, supplies and the like.”
  • “Because it’s a shared experience, it gives kids a chance to express themselves and show who they are and how they’ve changed from the last school year.”
  • “Going back to school can be a rough time for kids so changing up their wardrobe and buying new school supplies makes it better!

Parents Look to Ads for Help with their Back-To-School Shopping Decisions

81% of Disney Parents are favorable towards back-to-school ads. Disney parents agree that advertising shows them what’s new (80%) and that they are actively looking for advertisements to tell them what they should be purchasing (19%).

Even more, they’re taking action after seeing back-to-school advertisements.

When it comes to back-to-school shopping, which of the following have you done after seeing an advertisement?


Researched a product


Visited a company website


Purchased a product


Asked for others’ opinions and advice about a product


Talked to others about the advertisement


Visited a company’s social page

Disney Parents Anticipate Spending More This Year

When asked about their spending, we found that 91% anticipate that they’ll spend the same amount (49%) or more (42%) on back-to-school shopping this year compared to previous years.

Among those who anticipate spending more, most cited that things are more expensive due to inflation, their child is reaching a new milestone in school, kids’ growing out of their clothes and having multiple school-aged kids! In their own words, they anticipate spending more because…


Costs Increasing Due to Inflation

  • Everything seems to cost more since before the pandemic… bigger kid clothes/shoes, new backpacks, school supplies.”
  • INFLATION. I’ll spend more, but purchase the same or less quantity as in 2022.”


New School Milestone

  • “My son will be a senior and there are a lot of expenses with this reality.”
  • “My son is starting high school, so I believe the list will be larger and things cost more this year.”


Kids Growing

  • “My kids have outgrown their clothing.”
  • “Kids are bigger/older and have different needs.”


Multiple Kids in School

  • “I will have an additional child in public school next year, and the price of supplies and clothes are going up.”
  • “We will have more kids in school and one will be entering middle school, which I anticipate will require more spending this year.”

Starts Fun, Then Sometimes Feels Tiring

Some Disney Parents agree that the experience is fun but can often become exhausting if it goes on too long:
Disney Parents cite messy shelves, crowds, out of stock products and visiting several stores as pain points. Some also note that financial strain can take away from the shopping experience:

Out of Stock Products

“It is slightly exhausting because things may be out of stock or very expensive.”


Messy Shelves

“Everyone else goes nuts and can't be bothered to keep the store shelves neat.”



“I feel it is an exhausting experience especially with the crowds in the stores.”


Visiting Several Stores

“It means that I will have to go to several stores to find needed school supplies.” 33% say that they end up going to too many stores.


Time Sensitivity

28% say they feel pressure to get it done on time.


Shipping Issues

32% say shipping charges are high, while 31% say shipping time frames are too unpredictable for them.


Financial Strain

“If I'm not doing well financially, then I may not look forward to it because I know that I won't be able to get [my daughter] everything she needs or wants.”


Disney Parents want flexibility in their back-to-school shopping. Parents agree that they’re likely to do the following this year:
Additionally, most Disney Parents (56%) start thinking about back-to-school shopping in July and do the actual shopping in July and August. One parent noted: “if I start shopping early, it’s less stressful.”

There are Opportunities for Brands to Improve the Shopping Experience

When asked how companies can improve their shopping experience, free shipping rose to the top among Disney Parents (84%) followed by easy return policies (61%) and loyalty programs (55%).

Disney Parents are also eager for opportunities to cut down on costs during back-to-school shopping. Elements that interest them most in back-to-school advertising involve deals/discounts (62%), details about the product (45%) and ads that are relevant to them and their families (43%).

Advertiser Takeaways

In summary, back-to-school shopping holds immense value for parents and their children, presenting advertisers with the chance to address pain points and join in on the special moments that families cherish during this annual tradition.

Here are three ways advertisers can ace back-to-school shopping:

  1. Lean into the shared experience of back-to-school shopping. It’s an important ritual for parents.
  2. Given that some parents “eventize” it, consider offering discounts that make a day/event out of the back-to-school shopping experience.
  3. Solve for pain points by touting how you can help parents shop efficiently.

To learn more about back-to-school opportunities, reach out to your Disney Advertising representative.

*Parents within the Disney Dialogue Panel with children in elementary, middle and high school.

Source: Disney Dialogue Survey – Back-to-School 2023, April 2023

Results are among parents who said “yes” to going back-to-school school shopping in 2023.