How will back-to-school purchases be different this year?


Back to school is always an important time for shopping. Families with elementary to high school children plan to spend an average of $ 849 on school supplies this year, up $ 59 from last year, with total back-to-school spending set to hit a record $ 37.1 billion. dollars, according to the National Retail Federation.

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And the increased spending isn’t the only way back-to-school shopping will be different this year.

Expect shortages on high-demand items

Products like backpacks, sneakers, some gadgets and stationery will be in high demand this year, and supply chains may not be able to keep up, Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, told USA Today.

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“While we are unlikely to see doomsday shortages, the continued pressure on supply chains means that not all retailers will get an optimal amount of supply,” Saunders told the outlet. “What this means is that consumers will have less choice, and some might not be able to get exactly what they want, particularly towards the end of the school year.”

Keith Jelinek, general manager of retail practices at Berkeley Research Group, told USA Today consumers should start shopping earlier this year to avoid shortages.

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“We are seeing cases where the demand exceeds the supply of goods, especially in clothing,” Jelinek told the store. “Consumers can see the garment or the sneakers they want, but may not be able to get it in the size or color they need. “

Prices will be higher on certain goods

You may have to pay more for your kids’ back to school wardrobe this year. Jelinek told USA Today that due to inflation, consumers should expect to pay 10% to 15% more on clothing compared to last year. He also believes retailers won’t offer the same level of clothing sales and discounts as in previous years.

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You may need to plan for possible periods of distance learning

While parents are spending a lot of money on clothes this year – kids have grown up since the last round of real back-to-school shopping and trends have changed as well – electronics remain the top category of back-to-school spending. shopping this year, the National Retail Federation reported. Parents are buying more laptops, calculators, tablets and headphones as they consider the possibility of distance schooling, NPR reported.

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Masks and hand sanitizer are now on the shopping list

Back-to-school shopping typically involves buying new shoes and clothes, gadgets and electronics, along with stationery and other school supplies, but this year there may be a few new items on your list. Depending on where you live, your child may need to be masked to return to class. According to JungleScout, search volume for the keyword “children’s masks” has increased 204% on Amazon over the past month in anticipation of the return to school.

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And while some schools may provide hand sanitizer, sending your kids to school with their own supply of hand sanitizer is a good idea in case the school doesn’t or runs out of hand.

More purchases will be made online

While most parents still plan to do the majority of their shopping in-store, more will be shopping online than in previous years. This year, 39% of parents plan to do their back-to-school purchases online, an increase from 37% in 2020, according to Deloitte’s back-to-school 2021 survey.

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“If you look back before the pandemic, the amount of spending in-store was much higher and online much lower,” Rod Sides, vice president and U.S. leader of retail and distribution, told Forbes at Deloitte. “Today, the two lines – percentage of in-store versus online share – converge. Our assumption is that we are seeing a permanent change in the channel mix. Many parents have come to realize that it is easier to shop online, which is made easier by the new ways retailers are adapting with online shopping, in-store pickup, and curbside pickup.

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