Published: July 19, 2021
Author: Diana Gordon
After an unpredictable and tumultuous 2020, teachers and students alike are expected to get back into the classroom later this summer. With the return to in-person learning comes the usual back-to-school (BTS) shopping frenzy, and experts predict this year’s spending to reach new records, with Deloitte projecting a 16% increase YoY. As we’ve seen throughout the pandemic, hot-ticket items often fly off the shelves. This is leading to more consumers planning to do their shopping earlier than usual. The National Retail Federation (NRF) even found that a quarter of BTS shoppers had already started their shopping by early June, with spikes anticipated by mid-August.
We’re already noting some interesting upcoming shopping trends from consumer activity and surveys. For instance, more than half a million backpacks were sold during Amazon’s annual Prime Days event, and consumers anticipating in-person learning (64%, according to NRF research) are eager to trade in their lounge-wear as clothing and apparel categories are expected to be what kids are most excited to shop for. Deloitte also found that 34% of parents are still planning on leveraging online shopping with in-store pickup.
However, as consumers yearn for “normalcy,” there may be significant headwinds that could dampen the BTS shopping experience. Delayed shipping could result in inventory shortages, and although retailers planned their inventories to overcome this,…