Meredith Corporation has announced new data-rich insights revealing parents’ mindsets and plans in the areas of safety and remote learning to shopping and meal preparation as the back-to-school season begins.
Since mid-May, the number of moms who are looking forward to schools reopening has dropped by 14 points to 27%. Academic benefits of in-school learning have been consistently recognised, but moms’ perception of the emotional and social benefits has declined by 10 points to 51%.
Based on what they know now, 1 in 2 moms expect their schools will offer at least some type of in-classroom learning, but only 4 in 10 feel ready to send their children back to school. And, 20% of moms will keep their children home if their schools offer in-classroom learning, while 21% of moms are unsure.
With 44% of moms worried about their child getting sick, many parents may be concerned about the possibility of their kids transporting the coronavirus home with them on their clothing and school materials. Articles centred on cleaning and disinfecting items such as clothes, toys and car interiors have been trending up significantly since the pandemic outbreak.
Views of BHG.com articles centred on “disinfect/disinfectant” were up 36,531% year-over-year in April/May. The Meredith Data Studio expects many moms to equip themselves and their kids with gels, sprays and wipes to minimise risk.
In an effort to minimise germ exposure, more parents will pursue school transportation alternatives to school buses and public transit. In addition to more parents driving drop-offs, Meredith Data Studio foresees an increase in walking carpools, biking, and scootering.
These new kid-powered commutes will increase the need for reflective coats, safety gear, rain gear, helmets, smartphones and backpacks. Parents.com saw a 31% year-over-year increase in views of articles centred on “bikes/biking” in April/May.
Nearly one-third (32%) of moms are worried their child will fall behind if remote learning continues this fall, as it is expected to in most areas. More parents find themselves standing in as tutors and teaching aids.
Also, since many parents are busy working from home and are probably a bit rusty on scholastics, the Meredith Data Studio expects strong demand for study aids, workbooks, tablets and learning apps to continue.
This spring, Parents.com saw an 81% year-over-year increase in views of articles centred on “learning” and a 150% year-over-year increase in views of articles on “math-and-science.”
As remote learning and homeschooling are likely to become a reality for many children this fall, parents are focused on improving study spaces at home. In fact, unique views of BHG.com articles centred on “kids + bedrooms” were up 72% year-over-year in April/May. Many parents are purchasing desks, loft beds, desk lamps, chairs, lap desks and elevated décor for their kids’ rooms to create inspiring study spaces.
The Meredith Data Studio is also seeing a surge in parents checking to see if putting a TV in the kids’ rooms is a smart idea – likely to allow connection with teachers, educational programming, classmates and friends on larger, hands-free screens. Views of Parents.com articles centred on “kids and TV” were up 537% year-over-year in April/May.
Since most kids will at least in part be schooling from home this fall – and more schools may shift to paperless homework, books and assignments to minimise spread of germs – Meredith Data Studio expects an uptick in parents purchasing laptops, tablets, headphones, monitors, docking stations, smart speakers (the number of voice-based education apps/skills is growing) and faster Wi-Fi routers to equip their kids with new approaches to learning.
Views of parents.com articles centred on technology and streaming media, such as podcasts, apps, streaming services and virtual experiences have risen 314% year-over-year since the start of the pandemic.
Though many parents have embraced reusable lunch totes, sandwich containers and treat bags (in an effort to support sustainability), the Meredith Data Studio predicts a return to paper sacks, plastic sandwich bags, plastic cutlery and single-serve chips and treats that can be thrown away or recycled at school after eating.
Many moms will include hand sanitiser or wipes in sack lunches so kids can wipe down their desks and hands.
Meal Preparation This Fall
More parents will be working from home this fall (and 51% of moms saying they’re likely to continue working from home after the outbreak), giving them more time to prepare hot breakfasts and home-cooked dinners. Nearly a third of moms (31%) are looking for kid-friendly recipes.
The Meredith Data Studio expects strong demand for single-serve breakfast foods (pancakes, waffles, egg sandwiches), grab-and-go snacks and easy dinner meals. Views of “5 ingredients or less” recipes on Allrecipes.com grew 26% year-over-year in May.
Since days will be busy and budgets tight, parents are likely to show a preference for budget-friendly, family-friendly meals. Views of budget-friendly recipes on Allrecipes.com were up 30% year-over-year in June.
For more on the Meredith Data Studio, click here.
Sources: Meredith Proprietary First-Party Data and Insights Platform; Meredith Consumer Pulse: COVID 19 Wave 9 (July 28); Meredith Consumer Pulse: COVID 19, Wave 6 (May 19); BHG.com, Parents.com, Allrecipes.com Unique Page Views.