Consumer Pulse - Is the economy too cool for school? | July 27, 2023

The current situation:

Americans are projected to spend approximately $135 billion this year to get their kids ready to return to school and college, which is 22% more than last year. Back-to-school can be a make-or-break time of year and a critical lead-in to the holidays. Mass merchandisers, dollar stores, office supply stores, apparel companies and online-only retailers will all be competing for their share of the pie.


What consumers are saying:

Excluding Boomers, approximately 45% of consumers in this week’s Consumer Pulse say they plan on buying back-to-school supplies, and almost the same amount say they will purchase BTS apparel. Our Consumer Pulse report looks at how consumers will approach the all-important BTS season:

  • 84% say they will shop at Walmart for BTS supplies.
  • 77% say they will compare school supply prices to get the best deal.
  • 46% say they will shop both online and in-store.


The Outlook:

According to the National Retail Federation, BTS spending is second only to the holiday season for families. Families will spend an estimated $890 for kids in grades K-12 and $1,367 for those going off to college. The biggest winners this year will be the brands that are on-trend, in stock, and – most likely – on sale when parents are ready to buy.


Do you want to take the Pulse of your customers? Our Insights team will partner with you to design a study that will help you better understand your customers and their problems, and how your brand can win at retail.

23-SFA-0429-Consumer Pulse 109 - Is the economy too cool for school?


To get additional insight into what this means for brands and retailers, read the entire study.


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