In May 2021, KPMG polled 1000 consumers across the U.S. to learn about the effects of COVID-19 on their anticipated back-to-school spending, in-person learning vs. virtual learning and anticipated purchasing trends including brick and mortar vs. online. Three hundred thirty-five (335) survey respondents said they would be making back-to-school purchases for a child.
Back-to-school spend expected to increase
Parents are indicating they are likely to spend more on school supplies than they did last year with a year over year (YOY) increase of 9 percent. Spend is anticipated to be driven by the larger than normal group of pre-school (32 percent YOY increase) and college students (13 percent YOY increase).
Categories that will benefit most from the return to in-person learning appear to be the more “traditional” school-related items such as footwear, nonfootwear apparel and school supplies. These items also mark the largest increases as a percentage of parents’ school supply budgets.
Consumers expect to pay more
The expectation for some is that items will be more expensive this back-to-school season. Among respondents planning to spend more per child, 39 percent believe things will cost more in 2021. For the parents who expect to spend less per child, 32 percent say they need fewer items.
Online retailers continue to gain market share
Online shopping penetration for back-to-school supplies is anticipated to increase 30 percent from pre-COVID-19 levels (44 percent in 2021 vs. 34 percent in 2020). The trend for purchasing school supplies online is likely to continue, buoyed by the fact that consumers continue to increase their percentage of online shopping.
Download the full report here at KPMG.com.