ICSC’s back-to-school survey reveals planning and spending habits resemble 2019.
As students approach the school year with in-person learning, they are planning to spend an average of $954 on school-related items as compared to planning to spend $1,053 in 2020 and $961 in 2019, according to ICSC’s back-to-school survey.
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Interestingly, a survey from the NRF showed that students in K-12 planned to spend $848.90 on school items, up $59 versus a year ago, as reported earlier this week.
ICSC’s higher expected spending levels in 2020 were based on an increased need to buy furniture to accommodate remote learning, a significant expense, said an ICSC spokeswoman. Consumers won’t have to make that type of investment this year, but rather will be buying traditional supplies and apparel.
“As states across the country continue to fully reopen, the majority of consumers are returning to their pre-pandemic shopping behaviors,” said Tom McGee, president and chief executive officer of ICSC. He added, “Consumer confidence and spending will be the driving force that helps to reinvigorate the U.S. economy; back-to-school and upcoming holiday shopping season will contribute to elevating profits to the levels we saw prior to the pandemic.”
For those shoppers who indicated that they would spend more this year, they said the rise is due to additional COVID-19 supplies that are needed, such as masks, sanitizers and disinfecting clothes (33 percent), a need to replace wardrobe and/or school supplies or sporting equipment (32 percent), a change in the number of individuals attending school (27 percent), the items being more expensive (22 percent), and a change in job status or income (15 percent).
Promotions are expected to play a significant role with 86 percent of back-to-school shoppers saying sales will influence their shopping. Some 47 percent said that once they are in a store, promotions influence what they buy, 38 percent plan their back-to-school shopping around specific promotional events and dates such as sales tax holidays and big sales, and 32 percent plan to take advantage of the deals they receive from membership programs or loyalty rewards programs.
According to the ICSC survey, this year shoppers will take advantage of both in-store and online shopping options with 38 percent intending to make more purchases online and 27 percent taking advantage of buying online and picking up their purchases in a store.
A recent Deloitte survey showed that 39 percent of its respondents planned online spending versus 37 percent last year, while in-store spending was flat at 43 percent.
ICSC’s McGee added, “Our back-to-school survey confirms that planning, shopping and spending habits among adults look much like they did before the pandemic. Consumer spending will help bolster a reinvigorated economy as we emerge from our stay-at-home lives. Consumer traffic and spending continue to increase as regular activities continue to resume across the country.”
The ICSC back-to-school survey was conducted online July 9 to 11. The survey polled 1,003 U.S. respondents. Spending numbers are comprised of K-12 and college spending.
As reported, the ICSC has rebranded and broadened its agenda. The trade organization, while still known as ICSC, has changed its tagline to Innovating Commerce Serving Communities. With the rebranding, the ICSC is sending a message that its membership and scope of activities are wide and not narrowly centered on shopping centers and other retail real estate.
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