Back-to-school 2020: value, safe shopping, and packed-lunch ideas

Sabira Habib
Retail Analyst

Date : 03 September 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a lot of uncertainties regarding students returning to school in the UK. Parents are equipping their children with new school essentials such as face masks, hand sanitisers and disinfectant wipes to ensure they are safe. With many changes in the way school will be conducted such as no school meals, retailers in the UK are providing inspiration and solutions to help create a memorable back-to-school experience.

We highlight three areas retailers are focusing on to help tackle the challenges caused by COVID-19 and ensuring students do not miss out on a special back-to-school experience.

Lunchtime inspiration

IGD ShopperVista research reported almost half of parents are planning to provide packed lunches for their children returning to school in the UK. The research further found, around a quarter of parents reported their child/children’s school have stopped providing meals due to COVID-19.

Interestingly, nearly 40% of parents reported that they are open to trying new and different lunch options for themselves and their family. This creates opportunities for brands to support parents with new and exciting lunch products not only for their children but also for parents returning to work.

Waitrose and Partners is supporting parents by providing inspiration for lunchbox ideas with a key focus on healthy eating. It provides recipes and tips for creating healthy home-packed lunches and suggestions to make them interesting and exciting for their children. On its website, it offers eight healthy eating tips that can be incorporated in meals, suggested by a nutritionist making it easier for parents to prepare and plan for a week of home-packed lunches.

Source: Waitrose

Safe ways for shopping for school supplies

At a time of changing shopping behaviour, safety is number one priority for parents shopping for back-to-school essentials. IGD ShopperVista research found that 41% of parents in the UK reported that they will or have made a special trip to buy back to school supplies. It is vital to offer quick and easy access to school essentials for parents and students in-store and online.

Tesco’s initiatives such as displaying clear in-store signage to help direct shoppers to back-to-school essentials and easy to grab items such as multiple pack items help parents feel safe and reduce exposure to the virus.

Source: IGD Research

Value-driven shopping

IGD ShopperVista research found over half of parents are shopping around to get the best deals on back-to-school supplies. Value is vital for parents shopping for this event as the UK now in recession, financial concerns are top of mind for shoppers.

Aldi is one of many retailers offering competitive prices on school uniforms and continued similar techniques such as bundle deals as the previous years to offer value to its customers. It offers deals online and in-store ensuring parents get the best value in both channels. It further competes with fellow discounter Lidl, also offering a uniform bundle deal for £4.

Source: Aldi, Lidl

Want to know more?

  • Retail Analysis subscribers can read and download our full report Best of Back-to-school 2020 here
  • ShopperVista subscribers can read and download our full report H2: Event with a difference here