Retailers are optimistic for the start of the school year


The “Back to School” shopping season has started! The season accounts for a significant portion of retail sales in the United States, as households purchase school supplies, clothing, and decorations for students. In June 2021, it looked like the pandemic was coming to an end, or at least manageable, in the United States. However, the rise of the Delta variant changed that perspective with the entry into force of mask warrants to protect vulnerable people and slow infection rates. Regardless of these ongoing developments, everyone has to buy new items and supplies. As such, the back-to-school numbers will be a real barometer for the economy as many people return to their pre-pandemic routines, including full days at school and returning to the office.

According to US News and World Reports, consumer confidence remained unchanged from June to July 2021, surprising many economists who expected a decline. CNBC Remarks that this stability and consumer conference may have been spurred by the continued monthly payments for child tax credits that will continue for around 39 million households (nearly 90% of children in the United States) until December 2021. Bloomberg cites a forecast from Deloitte LLP that said spending would reach $ 32.5 billion, up 16% from 2020 and 17% from 2019.

Things to watch out for this back-to-school season include:

  1. Will the supply chain continue to cause delays? Many of us have encountered product delays over the past 18 months – whether it’s toilet paper at the start of the pandemic, or household appliances today. Delays at global ports could continue to hamper the back-to-school shopping season, potentially leading to lower sales and more full-priced items.

  2. Will the Delta variant delay purchases? According to Chain store age, the back-to-school shopping peak could be delayed. One of the main reasons is that the first day has already taken place in June. With several schools not even having completed their spring semester, the back-to-school season had not even started technically. Now, with the increase of the Delta variant, will consumers wait longer to purchase products for the school season anticipating a possible delay?

  3. Will technology continue to dominate back-to-school shopping? Over the past year, technology has been a huge expense for parents and students who have learned to get used to ZOOM classrooms, including ancillary gadgets such as computer lights, microphones and / or computer cameras. Will there be an expense for these items this year as well?

  4. Will the clothing bounce back? As the kids go back to school and the adults go back to the office, in person, fashion seems to be considered “in”. A resurgence in clothing is expected as people need to know how to dress for the occasion. It should also lead to an increase in other items such as makeup.

  5. Will consumers feel confident to return to stores? According to Deloitte, parents are looking to replenish items not purchased since before the pandemic. How much will this projection be the matter. However, Marketing dive Remarks in a recent survey, 89% of parents plan to shop in physical stores and almost 60% say they would be “very comfortable” doing so.

The start of the school year will be an indicator for the economy and the direction of the retail industry. Strong sales can raise retailers’ expectations as well as the economy. With all the factors listed above, optimism remains cautious for this new school year, despite the many uncertainties.

COPYRIGHT © 2021, STARK & STARKRevue nationale de droit, volume XI, number 222

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