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Meijer discusses back-to-school 2021 shopping trends

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Posted at 11:11 AM, Aug 02, 2021

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Meijer stores are revealing this season’s back-to-school shopping trends.

The Midwestern retailer says that after more than a year of virtual learning for many, families are shopping for back-to-school earlier than usual – and with a focus on going back in style.

Parents are also focusing on the basics – things like gel pens, markers, pencils, paper and notebook – that can be bought in bulk or larger count packages so students have plenty of items for both home and in classrooms, according to a news release Monday.

Students, on the other hand, seem more focused on the supplies and accessories that were skipped over last year.

“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.”

Graceffa added that while every teacher at every school has a different list, Meijer stores have been seeing the following trends and expect them to continue throughout the Midwest:

  • Backpacks: Students may have outgrown the backpack they used two years ago or may need to upgrade them to carry laptops, tablets and electronic accessories, or to better fit their style as they enter a new grade.
  • For students into sports like soccer, football and basketball, Adidas, Champion and Under Armour are top trends, according to Meijer. High Sierra and Columbia backpacks are also popular for students interested in a more outdoorsy, bohemian style.
  • Popular colors for basics like notebooks, folders, pencil pouches and planners include mints, pinks, blues and rose golds. Geometric patterns are also trending, especially on folders. The biggest themes this year include gaming, sharks, dinosaurs, marble, tie-dye, space, rainbows and animals.
  • Primary colors and pattern-free designs are also gaining popularity as some students seek gender-neutral ways to express themselves.
  • Many of the top folders students and parents are choosing include positive sayings or inspirational quotes, such as “Make Today Amazing,” “Kindness is Cool” and “Be Strong, Be Brave, Be You.”
  • Reusable insulated lunch boxes, lunch bags and accessories are popular for keeping chilled food cold and are a sustainable way to carry food and snacks, as they’re designed to be leakproof and durable.
  • Masks, sanitizer and wipes are still essential on many supply lists.

“Ultimately, parents want their students to have the best first day ever,” Graceffa 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 to be a huge success for everyone.”