Back-to-school shopping is a significant event in the retail industry, generating billions of dollars in sales each year. Back-to-school spending is second only to the holiday season in annual retail sales in the United States.
According to the NRF, back to school spending in the United States is expected to reach $347.23 billion in 2023. This is up from $343.53 billion in 2022, but below the record of $366.22 set in 2021.
The back-to-school shopping season typically runs from July to September, with the peak shopping in August. The most popular items for back-to-school shopping include clothing, backpacks, school supplies, and electronics.
Back-To-School Statistics for 2023
Snipp, a promotion and loyalty program provider, has created an exceptional marketing guide on Back-To-School Shopping for 2023. Here are some key statistics they’ve provided:
- Back-to-school sales in 2022 reached $34.4 billion, 24% higher than pre-pandemic levels.
- 38% of consumers are cutting back on spending in other areas to focus on back-to-school purchases.
- Online shopping has become a preferred choice for back-to-school shoppers, with an increase in the use of smartphones for shopping.
- Back-to-school spending on technology products increased in 2022 after a focus on virtual learning during the pandemic.
- Social media and socially savvy kids heavily influence back-to-school purchases.
- In 2022, there were record projections for spending on apparel, dorm, and apartment furnishings for back-to-school.
- Savings and discounts play a significant role in back-to-school shopping, with consumers looking for bargains and promotional discounts.
- In-person shopping for back-to-school increased in 2022 but is still below pre-pandemic levels. Online shopping is expected to continue dominating.
- Gen Z, mainly Gen Z parents, contributes to the preference for online shopping, with 52% prefer shopping online.
- Value considerations for back-to-school shopping include mental health and sustainability, leading to higher spending.
Key Takeaways for Back-To-School Shopping in 2023
1. Despite Economic Challenges, Back-To-School Shopping Will Be Resilient
Despite concerns about a slowing economy and inflationary pressures, the back-to-school season is essential for consumers, with parents expected to spend record amounts.
2. Brand loyalty is less influential
In the current landscape, brand loyalty is less important as consumers prioritize savings and discounts. Retailers and brands need to find new ways to attract customers and compete with better deals from competitors.
3. Emerging technologies and digital wallets play a role
Many shoppers plan on using emerging technologies such as digital wallets and socially shoppable content for their back-to-school shopping. This aligns with the increasing online shopping trend, especially among Gen Z consumers.
4. Value goes beyond discounts
While discounts are crucial, brands should also focus on communicating value in other ways. This includes considerations like mental health and sustainability, which prompt higher-than-average spending from parents.
5. Generation Alpha is a key demographic
Generation Alpha, the post-Gen Z category, is entering schooling, and their preferences and influence on buying decisions are becoming more significant. Brands must cater to their digital savviness, diversity, and respond to their interests in inclusivity, sustainability, and social impact.
And here’s an infographic from the National Retail Federation (NRF) with their survey results on Back-To-School 2023: