Parents grade back-to-school retailers in 2023: Walmart and Target win in ad reach and consideration
September 1st, 2023, Hoang Nguyen

Parents grade back-to-school retailers in 2023: Walmart and Target win in ad reach and consideration

Parents of school-aged children are facing the potential of what could be one of the most expensive back-to-school seasons due to inflation.

The latest data from YouGov provides insight into how major retailers are faring in terms of Ad Awareness, perceived Value and Consideration among parents of children under the age of 18.

Let’s delve into the rankings and insights from this year’s back-to-school season.

Ad Awareness

  • Walmart: 42.8%
  • Target: 35.5%
  • Kohl's: 19.7%
  • CVS: 18%
  • Costco: 16.6%

Among parents of children under the age of 18, Walmart emerges as the leader in Ad Awareness (whether a consumer has seen or heard an advertisement for a brand in the past two weeks). Between July 1 and August 30, 2023, 42.8% of parents saw an ad for Walmart.

Target’s ad reach closely follows, with more than a third (35.5%) of parents seeing an ad for the retailer. Kohl’s, CVS and Costco’s Ad Awareness scores round out the top five and are all within three points of each other, showcasing the competitive nature of the back-to-school retail market.


  • Walmart: 43.3 (net score)
  • Costco: 37 (net score)
  • Target: 32.1 (net score)
  • Sam's Club: 29.7 (net score)
  • TJ Maxx: 24.8 (net score)

The focus on value for money will be a driving factor this back-to-school season as families seek cost-effective options amid the long-term impacts of inflation on household budgets.

When it comes to perceived Value or whether a consumer considers a brand to represent good or poor value for money, Walmart again earns top marks among parents of school-aged children with a score of 43.3. Costco and Target are the next runners-up in terms of Value, followed by Sam’s Club and TJ Maxx.


  • Walmart: 63.2%
  • Target: 50.1%
  • Costco: 34.7%
  • CVS: 30.7%
  • Sam's Club: 29.8%

Walmart is the standout brand in terms of Consideration among parents, with nearly two-thirds (63.2%) of parents expressing their willingness to consider Walmart during the peak back-to-school shopping season.

Target also has a substantial consideration rate at 50.1%, showcasing its strong brand appeal and distancing itself by a margin of 16-points from the next closest competitor. Costco, CVS and Sam’s Club round out the top five for Consideration and all sit within five points of one another.

Photo by CDC on Unsplash