As schools across the nation open this fall for in-person learning, or a hybrid of at-home and in-person, back-to-school season is officially back in style. With expectation that this will be one of the busiest shopping seasons in the last decade, Meijer is stocking its stores with more than 1,800 back-to-school items and notes that parents with kids in elementary school are planning to spend an average of $849.50 on school items.
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"Families really want to be prepared for returning to classes, so the enthusiasm for in-person learning is really evident as they shop in our stores," said May Graceffa, director of back-to-school merchandising for Meijer. "We're seeing parents collaborating with students to plan 'their' look and choose the supplies that will best match their personalities while sitting in class and walking through school halls."
The Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer has revealed its top trends for the seasonal shopping occasion, with one key theme emerging: self-expression. Click through to learn more.
Basics That Pop
Meijer found that self-expression is a key consideration as students and parents are checking items off their lists this summer—and basic supplies such as notebooks, folders, pencil pouches and planners are no exception. Popular colors, Meijer said, are mints, pinks, blues and rose golds, while geometric patterns are trending, especially on folders. Folders with positive sayings or inspirational quotes such as “Make Today Amazing," "Kindness is Cool" and "Be Strong, Be Brave, Be You” are also gaining traction in customers carts. Other big themes for basic supplies are gaming, sharks, dinosaurs, marble, tie-dye, space, rainbows and animals.
When it comes to backpacks this school year, ones that are fit to carry laptops, tablets and other electronic accessories—items that became essential as students learned from home—will be popular, Meijer notes, with added safety features to protect these expensive items. High Sierra and Columbia backpacks are also popular For students interested in a more outdoorsy, bohemian style, Meijer said High Sierra and Columbia backpacks are popular.
While some students want their looks to capture attention, others are planning to break free from stereotypes and get back to basics, Meijer said. It predicts primary colors and pattern-free designs will gain popularity as students seek ways to express themselves.
Keeping It Clean
While Meijer said restocking personal safety items such as masks, sanitizer and wipers isn’t necessarily a trend, it will be an essential step as they parents prepare for their children to return to class. "Ultimately, parents want their students to have the best first day ever," Graceffa of Meijer said. "Nothing beats catching up with classmates and getting to take part in all of the extracurricular activities missed as they adapted to blended learning last year, so we're hoping that the trend of parents and students teaming up on a return to class is going be a huge success for everyone."