Most Romanian parents think pessimistically about the future. 7 in 10 worry about the economic situation, while 2 in 5 say they are in a more difficult financial situation compared to last year, with only 17% saying they are significantly better off.
Every year the beginning of the school year is one of the most important events in the family, implicitly one of the biggest sources of expenses for parents, after vacations. Nearly 9 out of 10 parents said they are currently concerned about higher prices for products for the start of the school year, according to a study conducted by United Media Service during August 9-11, on a sample of 400 urban respondents, parents, aged between 25 and 55 and with children in kindergarten or school. The interviews took place online.
Given the latest developments in the market, parents are once again facing uncertain times. As they prepare for the upcoming school year, rising inflation is a reminder of an unpredictable future. However, they are prepared to spend, despite the difficulties encountered and the worse financial situation reported by many of them.
Moreover, Romanians are generally far-sighted, 3 out of 4 respondents start their back-to-school shopping at least two weeks before, and 25% even about a month before and only 9% with the start of school, the vast majority resorting to the funds they currently have (61%), followed by those who put money aside for the moment (33%). What is interesting and worth noting is that 34% of respondents state that the child/children are also involved in the purchase decision.
According to the study, after the pandemic period when investments in technology for virtual learning were of increased importance, the focus returned to the classic categories associated with the start of school: supplies and clothing/shoes, with 9 out of 10 parents having them on the shopping list.
Decisions regarding the location from which the purchases are made depend mainly on the objects to be purchased. Thus, if hypermarkets and malls are preferred for choosing clothing, footwear and school stationery, online is decisive in terms of technology (phone, computer, laptop, tablet, etc.).
According to United Media Services, if during the summer Romanian parents watch more movies, spend more time on social networks and streaming services, and more time outside, when school starts these media habits reset to support the well-being of their children both at school as well as at home. As many parents have reported, they will also try a “digital detox” for their children after school starts, limiting their time on smartphones and other mobile devices. Playing video/online games (71% will do this activity less often), watching video content on various platforms such as TikTok, YouTube (62%) and TV content (59%) will suffer the most. Thus, reading books becomes the only activity in an upward trend (32% will read more often).
“School resuming brings with it a reset of the lifestyle and implicitly of the media consumption acquired during the holidays, which is valid for both children and parents. Our objective as media specialists is to capture these changes in consumer behavior and to we quickly adapt to them by integrating them into our current media planning. This consumer-centric approach, accompanied by our mindset of continuous improvement and adaptation of media planning to new realities, helps us to meet the marketing and communication objectives as efficiently as possible our customers,” said Anca Băcăianu, Head of Strategy & Research of United Media Services.
These changes are also reflected very well in the desire of parents to invest in activities and courses for their children, which will detach them from their devices, most of them choosing activities that require physical participation. Thus, according to the study, 67% of parents are oriented towards an individual sport, 35% towards a team sport, 21% towards a musical activity (learning an instrument, singing, etc.) or a scientific activity (history, robotics, etc.) , and 19% towards other artistic activities.