Deloitte Survey Finds Increased Back-To-School Spending

As the pandemic devastation buckles down and many families prepare to see their children return to traditional school environments, an increase in school supply spending is already being seen on a national level. A recent back-to-school survey conducted by Deloitte, a company which specializes in consulting, tax, and audit services, found that this year will see increased spending in anticipation of the 2021-22 school year. Currently reaching 32.5 billion (approximately $612 per student on a K-12 level), this year’s spending has already surpassed that of recent years, with a 16% increase from 2020 alone.

Experts currently estimate that most of this year’s back-to-school shopping will take place before the start of August because of technology shortages in last year’s school shopping season. This year shows a promising increase in parental outlooks for the upcoming school year, with 75-78% of households stating that they are in a similar or better financial situation than this time last year. As it stands, 40% of surveyed households are anticipating higher spending on supplies like clothing, stationary, computers and electronics.

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Technology products are seeing the highest increase yet, with projected 37% more money allotted than 2020, which is staggering considering schooling will not be remote any longer for most students. Because of this increase, it is estimated that 44% of households will spend less money on traditional school supplies to compensate for big-ticket purchases.

“We've entered a new era of schooling where traditional back-to-school supplies are fading in favor of tech, while consumers expect certain conveniences and competitive prices. Retailers that demonstrate their resiliency during this time will appeal to shoppers and be better positioned to capitalize on growing consumer sentiment.” said Rod Sides, vice chairman of Deloitte LLP in response to survey results and projections for this year.

Another statistic of the survey states that 58% of consumers will spend the same or more money for online learning sources like tutors, e-learning subscriptions, online courses and educational licenses, which suggest that some are still reluctant to fully re-integrate into the norm and are seeking alternative at-home options for their further educational needs. A 2% spending increase in online spending for school supplies in the last year also indicates a favorability being developed for digital shopping environments.

Regardless of the platform, this survey highlights one thing clearly: consumers are becoming more financially stable and comfortable in readjusting back to regular society.