Reading, Writing and Resilience

Consumer pulse survey | Back-to-school 2022

According to KPMG Consumer Pulse Survey of 1,300+ consumers, survey respondents plan to spend $380 per student on average, up 20 percent from a year ago despite high inflation driving up prices.1 Most (82 percent) anticipate paying more for items as the inflation rate soared to 9.1 percent2 in June. Although ready to pay higher prices, three out of four (75 percent) consumers express concerns over inflation, especially Gen X (77 percent) shoppers and those from lower-income households (78 percent).3

Back-to-school estimated spend

Level of concern with rising inflation

Back to in-store shopping

This year, consumers will conduct a mix of in-store and online shopping for their back-to-school purchases, emphasizing the importance of an omnichannel strategy for retailers.

On their quest for deals and the touch and see experience in stores, 57 percent of shoppers surveyed  plan to do their back-to-school shopping in-store this year,4 (up from 51 percent last year). Slightly fewer consumers (43 percent) will be shopping online compared to peak COVID-19 years (49 percent.) While share of online for back-to-school shopping has  decreased by 6 percentage points in 2022 versus 2021, it is a 10-percentage point increase over pre-COVID-19 levels in 2019.5

Meanwhile, inventory shortages are a concern for 49 percent of back-to-school shoppers.6 Of those, 50 percent plan to shop earlier this year to mitigate the risk, while 46 percent will shop at multiple retailers and 32 percent will spend less or go without items not in stock.7

Channel choice for back-to-school shopping (2019, 2021, and 2022)


Level of concern regarding back-to-school inventory shortages






Pre-COVID (2019)


Last year (2021)


Current year (2022)

Level of concern regarding back-to-school inventory shortages

Take a glimpse into our findings. Read the report.

The KPMG Consumer pulse survey series explores key, emerging themes around consumer behaviors, purchasing patterns and the economy. Each survey asks 1,000 U.S. consumers, representing all demographics, timely questions about upcoming purchases and economic conditions. We conduct the surveys to help our clients understand consumers, uncover the signals of permanent change and create basis for transforming their businesses to meet customers where they are.

Reading, writing, and resilience
Consumer pulse survey | Back-to-school 2022 report
Consumer pulse survey | Back-to-school 2022
Full analysis of KPMG survey results

1Source: KPMG Back-to-school Consumer Pulse Survey, July 2022. Slide 22 (All other slide references are sourced from this document).

2Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, June 2022.

3Slide 32

4Slide 27

5Slide 26

6Slide 32

7Sldie 31



Contact us

Matt Kramer

Matt Kramer

National Sector Leader, Consumer & Retail, KPMG LLP

+1 614-241-4666
Scott Rankin

Scott Rankin

Principal, Deal Advisory and Strategy, KPMG LLP

+1 617-988-1474
Julia Wilson

Julia Wilson

Principal, Advisory Strategy and ESG, KPMG US

+1 404-222-3511
Monica Rodriguez

Monica Rodriguez

Director Advisory, Strategy - PDT, KPMG US

+1 917-671-7973