Chamber Chat - Back to School

Aug 26

By Meg Moss


Tomorrow is the day for most people in Lee County – Back to School! And many of you have made an economic impact on our community by preparing for the first day. According to Deloitte, back-to-school (B2S) shopping season accounts for about 50% of annual school-related spending. And when is B2S shopping season exactly? About two-thirds (62 percent) of parents began the B2S shopping before August, but they end up spending on average about $100 more per household than those whose shopping period is the 4 week period between mid-July and mid-August. The longer someone extends their B2S shopping, the more they will likely spend.


“Deloitte” is the brand under which tens of thousands of professionals in independent firms throughout the world collaborate to provide audit & assurance, consulting, risk and financial advisory, risk management, tax, and related services. This Deloitte annual back to school survey was conducted online using an independent research panel between May 31 and June 6, 2018. The survey polled a sample of 1,200 parents of school-aged children and has a margin of error for the entire sample of plus or minus three percentage points. All respondents had at least one child attending school in grades K – 12 this fall.


Deloitte tells us that B2S is the second biggest shopping season of the year, and households spend, on average, $510, up slightly from 2017, where households were spending $501. Twenty-nine million households in the US have school-aged children (K-12), equating to 54 million children. Of the $27.6 billion dollars that will be spent on B2S purchases, $15.1 billion will be spent on clothing and accessories; $6 billion on school supplies; $3.7 billion on computers and hardware; and $2.8 billion on electronic gadgets, to include cell phones/smart phones, tablet/e-reader, and wearable devices.


Who is spending the most per household? Folks in the northeast, who are spending $568. The lowest spenders live in the south, spending only $488.


What is the extent of child’s influence on parents’ back-to-school shopping? For clothing, 80% of purchases have a high level of influence from the child, while only 58% of children have a high level of influence on purchases of computers and hardware.


Mass merchants rate number one for the places that individuals will shop for B2S items. While traditional department stores are likely to be favored by older generations, off-price stores are preferred by Millennials after mass merchants. And more than half of low-income households plan to shop at mass merchants, compared to one-third of high-income households.


I will take this opportunity to encourage everyone to do their shopping in Lee County! Our business community offers everything you need for back to school. No need to drive elsewhere!


I want to wish each Lee County student the best of luck this school year, and kudos to our educators and all school personnel for providing a sound education for our students. Parents and kiddos, I know you are ready for the first day of school tomorrow – you’ve got this!

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