As soon as students close their books for summer break, parents across the U.S. gear up for the upcoming back-to-school season with a renewed sense of enthusiasm. According to JLL’s recent Back-to-School Survey results, parents are anticipated to increase their spending by 15.7 percent this year compared to the previous year, signaling positive implications for retail sales.
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JLL Retail Research conducted the online survey of over 1,000 parents of school-age children to learn how they intend to shop and spend for the back-to-school season. The survey reveals that more than half of parents (55.2 percent) will budget more to accommodate higher prices for the same number of items they bought last year. After years of climbing prices, parents are “inflation-savvy.” They plan to budget more but will still look for deals. This increased spending trend shows consumers are resilient despite economic uncertainty.
According to the survey, about 69.5 percent of parents will look for sales and deals this year to save money, although on the converse side, fewer parents said that inflation will affect how they normally shop for back-to-school. Young parents are more likely to buy second-hand products to save money, while millennials will reuse existing products or look for cheaper brands.
Just like last year, mass retailers such as Walmart, Target and Amazon retain their top spots for parents to shop at, because they are one-stop shops for buying all the items on the school supply list, as well as offering affordable prices on clothes, electronics and other necessities.
“Phoenix is in an enviable position in this respect,” said JLL Executive Vice President Regan Amato. “Virtually every major retail player has a location – or many locations – in the Valley, and even more are coming thanks to a wave of new power center construction unlike anything we’ve seen in a long time. That growing retail presence makes it easy for parents to shop online deals, with the confidence that they can return or exchange a product at a local bricks-and-mortar store if needed. All major metros with a large retailer base will benefit from that advantage.”
The survey results also found that 24.1 percent of parents prioritized free shipping over cost when determining where to shop online. This is understandable given that since the pandemic hit in 2020, the percentage of parents ordering online for their kid’s school supplies has soared over 21 percentage points.
“The Phoenix market is doing extremely well right now, with strong sales across almost every category and very high occupancy rates,” sait Amato. “Back-to-school is a great opportunity for retailers to further boost that success.”