A 2022 back-to-school survey from consulting services firm Deloitte shows concerns about inflation are not stopping parents from spending more than last year to get their children ready for the new school year.
Although 57% of parents are concerned about inflation’s impact on the cost of school products, 37% plan to spend more than they did last year, the survey found. Deloitte estimates this will result in an 8% annual increase in back-to-school spending, which calculates to $661 per child versus $612 in 2021.
"As we approach fall against a backdrop of uncertainty, it's important to note that the [back-to-school] market has grown 24% since 2019, despite unprecedented disruption," a report about the survey results said.
It added: "In the 15 years of analysis, perhaps the most resounding takeaway is that consumers and the retail industry are resilient."
Deloitte estimates that the back-to-school market size will reach $34.4 billion this year, but that decreasing school enrollment and an increase in homeschooling could affect growth.
The firm surveyed a sample of 1,200 parents with at least one child attending school in grades K-12 this fall.
The survey revealed other insights, including:
- 50% of parents said they were concerned about their child's mental health, and 36% had purchased products or services to address this.
- Back-to-school spending on technology is down 8% compared to last year, while spending on traditional back-to-school products like clothing and school supplies is up 14%. Purchases for clothing and accessories alone is up 18% over last year.
- Parents' interest in digital learning is declining, with 62% saying they plan to spend on virtual or online learning resources this year, compared to 72% in 2021. Some 81% said schools provided devices and technological tools for their children.
- Purchases for COVID-19 related items, including personal hygiene products and home workstation supplies is up 7%.
- A majority of parents surveyed — 63% — expect that an item they want will be out of stock, and 77% said they will trade brands if their preferred brand is not available.
- Half of parents said they choose sustainable back-to-school products whenever possible. Deloitte notes sustainable shoppers spend 22% more than average.