Even with the pandemic forcing most kids to stay at home at the beginning of the 2020 educational year, school districts across the country found ways to safely bring kids back to the classroom. Reports show that by April 2021, nearly all K-8 public schools in the U.S. offered at least some in-person instruction.
But, we’re ba-ack!
64% of parents expect their students will be attending classes mostly or entirely in person this fall. The sounds of cheering you may hear these days are the work-from-home parents around the country excited that their kids will have somewhere to go during the day soon.
Of course, with last year’s back-to-school shopping season overshadowed by the uncertainties surrounding the pandemic, total U.S. sales dipped by 4.6%. In comparison, back-to-school sales have grown by 3-5.6% annually over the past several years.
The good news is that after declining last year, total back-to-school sales will grow by 9.3% in 2021 to reach $95.83 billion
Ten Telling Stats Brands Should Know About the 2021 Back-to-School (BTS) Shopping Season
The pandemic has pushed the share of shopping online to an all-time high and that continues even as physical stores are widely open across the company. But, prices seem to be higher and that seems to be fueling interest in finding back-to-school promotions and deals.
The folloring are ten very telling stats about this year’s back-to-school shopping season.
BTS Stat #1: 70% of back-to-school shoppers plan to do back-to-school shopping online in 2021. It doesn’t mean that they’ll be buying everything they need via the Internet, as there will be an increase in in-store purchases too over last year when many stores were closed. This online trend equates to big numbers as U.S. back-to-school ecommerce sales will grow another 13.3% this year to $41.26 billion
BTS Stat #2: The total dollars spent on back-to-school purchases isn’t the only headline here. The ecommerce share of total back-to-school sales is predicted to be 43.1%, which is 10 percentage points compared with 2019 (31.5%). That’s a huge jump and certainly driven by the meteoric rise in ecommerce adoption in 2020.
BTS Stat #4: Where do consumers plan to spend most of their back-to-school budgets? Well, last year, kids were able to get by with t-shirts and sweatpants—so clothing is a top need. Based on a report by Shopkick, top categories begin with apparel (60%) and then basic school supplies (24%), technology (10%), dorm furnishings (4%), and books (3%). Anecdotally, parents purchased a lot in technology last year for their school-at-home kids, and many report not needing to spend as much this year due to last year’s investments.
BTS Stat #5:: One thing that seems to be on many people’s minds right now is the rising cost of inflation. 81% of consumers believe prices are somewhat or much higher now than they were before the pandemic.
BTS Stat #6: Those concerns around inflation are confirmed by Profitero’s eCommerce Price Index which found that online prices for office supplies and electronics were already up 4.2% in June compared with June of 2020.
BTS Stat #7: Because of the rising prices, parents are becoming more price-sensitive. 70% of consumers say that shopping deals to get the best price will be back at the top of their priority list this year.
BTS Stat #8: All of this means price-sensitivity means that retailers should really double-down on their promotions this year and may even want to extend sales to attract parents. 64% of consumers who are planning to shop during back-to-school events this year are doing so simply to take advantage of the discounts.
BTS Stat #9: Getting their back-to-school shopping done early is also a trend this year as parents worry that supply-chain issues from the pandemic will create scarcity around items. About 47% of Chicago parents surveyed by Deloitte said they were concerned about out-of-stock items.
BTS Stat #10: Retailers would be wise to know that there’s a bigger opportunity than many may realize. Back-to-school sales aren’t only for kids returning to the classroom, 35% are shopping for supplies for themselves completely unrelated to the upcoming school year.
Skai is your commerce intelligence foundation for back-to-school and beyond
Although back-to-school shopping is an important aspect of the promotional year, it represents less than 2% of total retail sales—just 1.6% in 2021.
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