According to JLL Retail Advisory’s back-to-school survey of more than 1,000 parents of school-aged kids, planned back-to-school spending will rise 15.7 percent.

JLL conducted the online survey at the end of May 2023 to learn how parents intended to shop retail for the upcoming back-to-school season. The company found that more than half of the parents (55.2 percent) have budgeted more this year to accommodate higher retail prices but will continue to look for deals when shopping.

“After moderating spending plans last year, parents have a different approach this year—spending more per child despite inflation concerns,” said Naveen Jaggi, president of Retail Advisory Services, JLL. “Our survey shows parents are investing in back-to-school essentials, and this is not only supporting their children’s educational journey but also playing a crucial part in driving consumer spending.”

According to the retail advisory company’s survey, about 69.5 percent of parents will look for sales and deals; conversely, fewer parents said that inflation would affect how they usually shop for back-to-school. Young parents are likelier to buy second-hand to save money, while Millennials responded that they would reuse products or look for cheaper alternatives.

As was the case in 2022, when shopping, mass retailers, including Walmart, Target and Amazon, held the top spots for parents because they are one-stop shops and offer the best prices on back-to-school categories, including electronics.

The survey also found that 24.1 percent of parents prioritize free shipping over the cost of goods when selecting an online retailer, which makes sense given that the percentage of parents who order kid’s school supplies online has increased by more than 21 points since the pandemic.

“Predictably, our survey results show parents like the convenience of online back-to-school shopping, but recent retail foot traffic data shows positive results in May,” said James Cook, director of Retail Research at JLL Retail Advisory. “Consumers have evolved since the pandemic and are still engaging with physical stores, which we don’t foresee changing as brands continue to expand their footprints and continue to meet consumer spending demands.”

Lastly, JLL’s study found that parents will continue to start back-to-school shopping early. By July, more than 60 percent of parents would have started shopping, with August continuing to be the most popular month to shop, possibly to purchase tax-free back-to-school items.

“Consumers will look for the sales, deals and other ways to save this back-to-school shopping season,” Jaggi added. “They are looking to maximize the value of their spending, particularly during a challenging economic environment, but this has made value retail appealing to families seeking affordability and creates an opportunity for retailers to adapt for growth and success.”

To read JLL’s complete survey results, go here.

Photo courtesy Wheeling Country Day