Despite the uncertainty of whether schools will reopen this school year, a survey polled by the National Retail Federation (NRF) showed back-to-school shopping is likely to topple last year’s total spending.
For parents with kids attending school, the “new normal” comes with the possibility that they need to spend more on school supplies this coming school year. The pandemic has forced educational institutions to shut down last March and prompted schools to integrate distance learning or online classes.
Since then, parents were compelled to buy gadgets like tablets, laptops, and other technologies needed to support “online learning.”
Back-to-school spending predicted to hit a record
As per the National Retail Federation’s annual survey, American consumers are predicted to spend a total of US$101.6 billion[AU$145.16 billion] for school supplies this year—K-12 and college students combined. It surpassed last year’s record of $80.7 billion.
Parents with elementary and high school students, for instance, are expected to expend an average of $789.49 per family, higher than last year’s record of $696.70 per family. For parents with kids attending college, the expected average amount per family need to spend is $1, 059.20.
“This is an unprecedented year with great uncertainty, including how students will get their education this fall,” Matt Shay, NRF’s chief executive, said in a statement.
Moreover, NRF found that most of the 7,481 parents who participated in the survey had only made 17% of their school supplies shopping. The trend, according to Katherine Cullen of NRF, is because parents are not sure what materials they should purchase.
“Most people said it was because they did not know what to buy yet. As that information comes in, as decisions are made about the school year, families may adjust accordingly,” Cullen told Business Insider.
Due to uncertainty surrounding in-person classes, 72% of the said number of respondents plans to buy laptops, computer desks, and other essential materials needed for online classes as well.
Parents turn to online shopping
On the one hand, it appears that American parents are likely to ditch brick-and-mortar stores and shop online instead, too.
As shown in NRF’s latest survey, 43% said they would make more online purchases this year, while 88% said that the coronavirus would inevitably affect the way they shop school supplies.
For parents with K-12 students, 37% said that they plan to shop in department stores down from last year’s 53%, while 30% (down from 45%) said they plan to visit clothing stores.
Overall, the retail group found that physical shops such as clothing, office supply, and discount stores will see a significant decline in foot traffic this year.