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.
Average back-to-school spend per child
How 2021 back-to-school dollars may be spent
Note(s): (a) KPMG conducted a survey of over 1,000 consumers across the United States and asked the questions “How much do you plan on spending on back to school supplies per child (including apparel and uniforms)?” and “You indicated that you have college-age adults living in your household. How much do you plan on spending on back to school supplies per college-age student (including apparel and uniforms)?” and “How do you expect to spend your money on this year vs last year?” (b) N=335 respondents saying they would make school supply purchases.
Source: (1) KPMG Consumer survey, fielded May 2021