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Five Retail Trends Making the Grade for Back-to-School Shopping

August 19, 2019

Retailers are expecting record spending at the start of the 2019 school year given the nation’s growing economy. The National Retail Federation reports that total spending between K-12 and college shoppers is predicted to reach $80.7 billion. So, who is buying what?

  1. Gen Z is spending more of their own money on back-to-school shopping. Rather than leaving it to mom or dad, teens and pre-teens are making product decisions, mostly on clothing and accessories, and are willing to spend their own cash. Each teen will spend an average of $36.71 and each pre-teen $26.40.
  2. College students want to show their spirit! Spending on college-branded items has increased 17% year over year. College goers will spend an average of $66.22 each on collegiate gear. However, the college shoppers will spend the most on electronics, followed by clothing and accessories, dorm and apartment furnishings and food items.
  3. Fundamentals matter. Deloitte’s 2019 back-to-school survey showed that (regardless of shopping age) consumers are crystal clear on their top three purchase motivations: 1) price 2) product and 3) convenience. Most start shopping four to six weeks before school starts, but they are willing to wait for the highest discount.
  4. Brick-and-mortar stores are still winning. Among back-to-school shoppers, 88% plan to visit brick-and-mortar mass-market retailers. Rounding out the other top four retailers are online, dollar stores, specialty retailers and off-price.
  5. Going back to school also means giving back. Thirty-one percent of consumers plan to donate school supplies and other needed items while they are doing their own back-to-school shopping — in fact, around $51 per family.