Deloitte: Back To School Spending Has Flat Prospects

In its 2020 Back-to-School and Back-to-College studies, Deloitte determined that, amid financial concerns, back-to-school spending will likely remain flat, reaching a collective $28.1 billion for kindergarten through grade 12 students, or approximately $529 per student.

Back-to-college shoppers will spend $25.4 billion or about $1,345 per student.

Spending is likely to continue a shift toward digital products over more traditional items, with a 28% increase in technology spending for K-12 students, now an $8.6 billion market. Just over half of parents surveyed stated that they plan to increase their spend on virtual learning tools, as well as allocate budget for personal health products.

Parents of college and K-12 students expect to spend $10.4 billion online this back-to-school season, up from $8.1 billion last year, as they seek out contactless formats such as buy online, pick up in store. Despite an in-store spending decline projected as dropping sales to $12.2 billion from $15.7 billion in the year prior, the physical store remains important to consumers with 43% of total spending projected to take place in-store. The importance is, in part, for the store’s role as a pick up spot, with 26% of consumers planning to take advantage of BOPIS more frequently.

Mass merchants remain the preferred retail channel for back to school and college shoppers, with 81% and 75%, respectively, planning to spend in the channel, but it may lose some share this year as at least some consumers expected to stick closer to home because of the pandemic.