In this episode of Retail Right Now, Total Retail's Joe Keenan and Kristina Stidham discuss back-to-school spending and behavior. Key data from recent consumer surveys on trends and forecasts show that retailers should prepare for a busy back-to-school season this year. For example, KPMG reports that BTS spending is expected to increase 9 percent year-over-year, and average spend per child will rise substantially — $268 per student compared to $247 in 2020. While signs show digital learning isn’t going away, the widespread return of students to the classroom is propelling increased spending in key retail categories, led by footwear, apparel and school supplies.

As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, students are returning to classrooms and shoppers are returning to stores, even as online sales remain strong. A survey from Deloitte found the level of online spend for back-to-school has increased year-over-year to 39 percent, while in-store spending remains the same from 2020. Shopping behaviors first adopted due to safety will continue as a desire for convenience takes over, such as consumers opting for buy online, pick up in-store and curbside pickup services. This year’s back-to-school shopping season is sure to be a whirlwind for retailers as students gear up for a changed learning environment.

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