Gear up for success: Parents boost back-to-school budgets this season
According to JLL’s survey, planned back-to-school spending, rose 15.7%
CHICAGO, June 27, 2023 – 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% this year compared to the previous year, signalling positive implications for retail sales.
JLL Retail Research conducted the online survey of over 1,000 parents of school-age children at the end of May 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%) 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.
“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 survey, about 69.5% 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.
Additionally, the survey results found that 24.1% 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 points.
“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, JLL. “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, parents will continue to start back-to-school shopping early. By July, more than 60% of parents would have begun their shopping, but the most popular month remains August, possibly to snag those tax-free back-to-school shopping savings during that period.
“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.
For over 200 years, JLL (NYSE: JLL), a leading global commercial real estate and investment management company, has helped clients buy, build, occupy, manage and invest in a variety of commercial, industrial, hotel, residential and retail properties. A Fortune 500® company with annual revenue of $20.9 billion and operations in over 80 countries around the world, our more than 103,000 employees bring the power of a global platform combined with local expertise. Driven by our purpose to shape the future of real estate for a better world, we help our clients, people and communities SEE A BRIGHTER WAYSM. JLL is the brand name, and a registered trademark, of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated. For further information, visit jll.com.