While it may not be back-to- “school” exactly, distance learning will drive parents to spend more this year

Budgets will jump by nearly 9 percent according to JLL’s latest consumer survey

August 19, 2020

CHICAGO, Aug.19, 2020 – The way households prepare for the back-to-school (uh…learning) shopping season looks drastically different this year, as plans for how kids attend school moves from primarily in-person learning to a mix of in-person, virtual and homeschooling options. In a new Back to School survey, JLL finds that spending per child is jumping 8.9 percent to an average of $281 per child this year, compared to $258 last year.

In anticipation of hybrid attendance, parents are purchasing products outside of the seasonal norm. Focus is shifting to electronics, with the U.S. Census Bureau reporting category sales increasing by 22.9 percent in July as parents began preparing for virtual learning. The JLL survey found that nearly 40 percent of households will invest in electronics for remote schooling, while 36 percent will buy home office supplies like desks. Parents who plan to invest in electronics or home office supplies will spend well above the average per child, approximately $369 and $331, respectively. 

Additionally, more than 60 percent of parents will buy personal safety products like masks and hand sanitizer for children this back to school season. Other new purchases on parents’ shopping lists include more packed school lunch supplies, including food, water bottles and lunch bags, as well as medication and vitamins. Parents whose shopping plans include medication and vitamins will spend the most per child—around $395—since these parents are significantly more likely than the average parent to also buy many other specialty products like personal safety gear, electronics, home office supplies and packed lunch supplies.   

“While back-to-school retail sales look different this year, certain categories will benefit from pandemic related tailwinds,” said Naveen Jaggi, President of Retail Advisory Services, JLL Americas. “Low prices will remain an important factor for households with less discretionary spending due to widespread unemployment, meaning big box retailers known to carry wide selections of affordable technology are likely to win market-share this season.”

The JLL survey also found that shoppers who do visit stores, whether to shop or pick up purchases will spend even more on average per child. Parents who use the buy online pick up in store (BOPIS) method will spend on average $318 per child, while those who shop in-store will spend $288 per child.

“While there is no doubt in-store shopping will be down this back-to-school season due to COVID-19 implications, foot traffic in-store is already improving compared to where it was a month ago,” said James Cook, Director of Retail Research, JLL Americas. “E-commerce sales have slowed significantly from their peak now that more retail establishments have re-opened and consumers adjust to their new normal, creating bright spots for brick and mortar recovery.”

For more news, videos and research from JLL’s Retail Group, please visit: https://www.us.jll.com/retail

About JLL

JLL (NYSE: JLL) is a leading professional services firm that specializes in real estate and investment management. JLL shapes the future of real estate for a better world by using the most advanced technology to create rewarding opportunities, amazing spaces and sustainable real estate solutions for our clients, our people and our communities. JLL is a Fortune 500 company with annual revenue of $18.0 billion in 2019, operations in over 80 countries and a global workforce of nearly 93,000 as of June 30, 2020. JLL is the brand name, and a registered trademark, of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated. For further information, visit jll.com.