Amid summer vacation plans, parents are preparing for back-to-school (BTS) season. Total BTS and back-to-college spending is expected to surpass $62.7 billion, according to Deloitte’s 2022 back-to-school survey.
On Thursday, Rod Sides, Deloitte Global Insights leader, broke down the consultancy’s findings.
“Parents are looking to make sure they make the back-to-school season really work for them," Sides told Yahoo Finance Live in an interview (video above). "They’re dipping into savings. We’re seeing about an 8% growth in K-12, and about 10% [growth] in college, so parents are stretching beyond their means.”
Higher prices are not deterring consumers. Though 57% of parents are concerned about inflation, Deloitte quantifies that 37% are expected to spend more on BTS products.
Apparel is responsible for driving this growth as families return to normalcy from the pandemic.
“Apparel looks like the big winner. A lot of folks are looking to make sure the kids have new clothes … because they won’t be on camera as much. I think there is some catch-up in that particular category,” Sides said.
On the other hand, parents are buying fewer tech products compared to the previous two years. Deloitte observes an 8% decline in BTS tech spending this year – there was 37% growth in 2021.
Brick-and-mortar stores are making a comeback this BTS season.
“The convenience of shoes and clothes … really makes the store the right answer for a lot of parents,” Sides expressed.
Deloitte anticipates in-store shopping will account for 49% of BTS spending, which is up 6% from the preceding year. Retail spending is still strong in the digital age – the Commerce Department reported Friday that U.S. retail sales surged 1% in June 2022, which was a 130 basis point improvement from May 2022.
Sides also noted a trend towards sustainability.
“We saw parents’ desire for sustainable products really grow. About 50% in both the back-to-school and back-to-college categories said that was going to be important to them,” Sides explained.
Another surprise Sides discussed was that 22% of those parents were willing to spend more on sustainable BTS items.
Parents are also spending more on products that support their child’s mental health and wellness.
“What we know is about 50% of the parents, both in the back-to-school and the back-to-college [categories] said they’re worried about their kid’s mental wellness. 36% have already spent on products to help with that, whether it be online meditation, extracurricular activities, [or] yoga classes,” Sides adds.
Covid-19 took a toll on children’s mental health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) discovered that 44% of high school students felt sad or hopeless in 2021, citing emotional abuse, familial unemployment, and loneliness.
Yaseen Shah is a writer at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @yaseennshah22