Teachers Have the Purchasing Power (More Than You May Realize)

Although school and district leaders often are the ones with the final say on large edtech and curriculum purchases, teachers inform and influence nearly every major purchase that happens in their schools. For an idea of just how much influence over purchasing they have, consider this:

  • Eighty-nine percent of teachers report that they are somewhat to completely involved in purchasing classroom supplies
  • Seventy-five percent are somewhat to completely involved in purchasing supplemental materials; and
  • Fifty-eight percent are somewhat or completely involved in purchasing core curriculum materials(1).

Anyone marketing to key decision makers in the education sector should realize that if they aren’t already marketing directly to teachers, they should be. Neglecting teachers as a primary audience isn’t smart marketing, considering how much purchasing persuasion they possess and just how large a segment they comprise. The most recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics estimates that there are around 3.2 million full-time teachers in public schools alone, not accounting for the also-healthy private and Catholic school sectors.

Here are a few distinguishing characteristics of teachers as consumers.

Where they work determines how much teachers spend on their classrooms: It’s no secret that, unfortunately, teachers often spend large sums of their own money for classroom supplies. However, how much they spend depends largely on where they work. Private school teachers pay the least out of pocket ($274.70), while those employed in public schools spend and average of $408.71 out-of-pocket(2).

Teachers value discounts and prefer online shopping: Not surprisingly, teachers overwhelmingly prefer electronic payment methods, such as debit cards and credit cards, and do a lot of their shopping online. Forty-seven percent of teachers say they shop online now more than at any other time in the past. Teachers also tend to be savvy—and patient—shoppers, often waiting until an item goes on sale or is on discount before purchasing it. Sixty-eight percent of teachers say they shop around and check multiple vendors and locations to get the best deal on expensive purchases(3).

Teachers influence the purchases of parents: When it comes to school supplies and learning resources, parents turn to teachers for recommendations and advice. Every school year starts with a list. This list includes all of the items parents need to purchase for their children that year, from pencils and paper to tissues and gym clothes. Additionally, more than sixty-three percent of teachers recommend specific learning apps and sixty percent recommend tutors to parents(4). 

Know Teachers, Know Education

To learn more about the purchasing power and influence of teachers, and to discover how to better reach them through strategic marketing programs, download Teachers Are Consumers, Too!, a free guide from Agile Education Marketing.

1. K12 Purchasing 2013: Classroom Purchasing Power; Agile Education Marketing

2. 2017 Teacher Purchasing, Spending and Loyalty Survey; Agile Education Marketing & SheerID

3. Simmons® National Consumer Studies, Fall 2014

4. Fall 2016 Parent Teacher Conferences Survey; Agile Education Marketing and SignUp.com


You need to be logged in to leave a comment. Please Sign-in/Sign-up.

About the Author

Connie Davis is Director of Strategic Accounts at Agile Education Marketing. In that capacity, Connie has advised hundreds of education companies on education marketing best practices. An expert in the education sales cycle, Connie helps companies reach targeted groups of educators with personalized content and marketing messages at the right times and on the most effective platforms for communication. Reach Connie at cdavis@agile-ed.com.

Generate and education sales or marketing list in minutes

[wpdreams_rpp id=0]

Stay in the know with Selling to Schools