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Back-to-School Shopping Spend to Rise; Will Extend into September

The average consumer expects to spend more on back-to-school items this year than in 2019, despite continued uncertainty over school openings amid COVID-19.

That’s according to a survey by the International Council of Shopping Centers, which found that back-to-school shoppers will spend an average of $1,053 on related items, up approximately $200 from last year, with increased spending on electronics and furniture.

The ICSC survey also provided some optimism for brick-and-mortar retailers. Ninety-six percent of respondents plan to make purchases from stores with a physical presence. Click-and-collect shopping has also become a popular option, with 56% expecting to use this method.

For many students, back-to-school policies remain fluid, with only 26% of survey respondents indicating that school would resume with regular instruction. Twenty-eight percent will resume schooling in an online-only format—an especially popular pursuit in the South (30%) and West (40%). As a result, shoppers indicated strong demand for electronics (59%) and home furnishings (45%) to accommodate changes, in addition to standard school supplies and clothing.

- Digital Partner -

ICSC’s survey also indicated that uncertainty around the structure of learning may be changing how and when consumers shop for goods this year. For example, 62% of respondents won’t begin shopping until they have a definitive answer about how their child’s school will reopen.

In addition, 65% said that the amount they spend will greatly depend on the schedule and format of their child’s schooling. This could extend the back-to-school shopping season, 55% of consumers intend to make several trips to stores for items, and 58% of spending expected to happen in August and September.

“This is no ordinary back-to-school season, but that isn’t deterring consumers from spending money at physical stores,” said Tom McGee, president and CEO, ICSC. “Back-to-school shopping continues to be popular even in these uncertain times.”

ICSC’s back-to-school survey was conducted by Engine Insights on behalf of ICSC in late July and is a representative US sample of 1,005 adults 18 years of age and older…  Chain Store Age

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