Shifting Focus to Children’s Well-being This Back-to-School Season
According to Deloitte, back-to-school spending is projected to reach $34.4 billion for K-12 students this year– increasing by 24% since 2019. The average back-to-school (BTS) spending per student is expected to be approximately $661, up 8% year-on-year. Although 57% of shoppers were concerned about inflation this year, many remain determined to purchase school supplies for their children. However, against the backdrop of the pandemic, their child’s well-being (both mental and physical) remains one of the major concerns of parents.
Summer holidays are a time of fun and relaxation. In contrast, returning to the routine and pressures of school can be a source of anxiety for parents and students alike as the new academic year looms. With children growing up with more social pressures than ever before and the disruptions brought about by COVID-19 to their educational and physical activities, many parents are wondering how to take a more holistic approach to their well-being. As students prepare for their return to school, there’s a need to not only encourage physical activity, healthy food, and proper nutrition but to do so in a stress-free environment that will enable children to be healthy while having fun.
“The back-to-school season is one of the biggest events of the year for the retail industry; however, two years into the pandemic, we are noticing a huge shift in consumer demands while the market sentiment has remained extraordinarily resilient in the face of uncertainty and challenges,” said Mohammad A. Baker, CEO and Deputy Chairman of GMG, a global well-being company.
As one of the Middle East’s leading family-owned retail conglomerates with a growing global presence, GMG is committed to improving people’s lives through active living, nutritious food, and good health through a portfolio of leading international and homegrown brands under four main divisions – GMG Sports, GMG Health, GMG Food, and GMG Consumer Goods.
Understanding these nuances, GMG Sports’ homegrown brand Sun & Sand Sports rolled out the #MakeSportsFun concept this BTS season to encourage children and young adults to change the definition of success and inspire them to express what it means to each of them. Young people are themselves leading the charge. Gen Z, comprising the primary and high school student population, is now more inclined to aspire toward holistic health goals. This demographic is focused on well-being rather than the narrow pursuit of physicality and sporting success. They favor a 360-degree view of health, focusing on improving mental and physical fitness tied to the broader goals of socializing, having fun, and entertainment.
Another key aspect of managing children’s well-being this BTS season is food and nutrition. Healthy eating habits often take a back seat during the holiday period with the lack of a structured daily routine, easy access to food at home, and trips away, often leading to overconsumption. Furthermore, young people often lack information on good nutrition, which is why it is essential to build this knowledge at an early stage so it can carry over into adulthood. Returning to school is an opportunity to quickly re-establish normalcy while encouraging long-term behavioral change.
As reported by PwC, 71% of Middle East consumers stated that they became healthier during the pandemic. Furthermore, 41% said they are inclined to pay more for healthier grocery options. A recent YouGov survey confirmed that while UAE consumers will cut down on excessive spending, especially when it comes to eating out, they will still continue to value high-quality, nutritious food ingredients and essential staple food items.
“Encouraging children to embrace and enjoy a healthier lifestyle is a key component of GMG’s efforts to promote well-being and improve the lives of children across the communities we serve. Whether it is Géant, Supercare Pharmacy, or Sun & Sand Sports, this BTS season, all our business divisions are providing a great opportunity to do just that, ensuring the return to school is a happy and healthy time for both children and their families,” added Baker.
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