NEW YORK, July 8, 2020 /PRNewswire/ --
Why this matters
COVID-19 has elevated parent's anxieties around health and finance, and led them to question the quality of education that students received this spring. Concerns that students have fallen behind is evident, with only one-half of K-12 parents satisfied with the education provided, and 25% citing that their children are not prepared for the next grade. This trend is similar to what we found in the Back-to-College survey, as just more than half (52%) of parents noted they were satisfied with the education college students received this spring, and many now contemplating the value of online learning at the price of an on-campus experience. Moreover, 66% of K-12 parents and 62% of college-age parents are anxious about sending their kids back-to-school because of the pandemic. This is further compounded by financial concerns, with 40% of parents worried about making upcoming college-related payments.
Back-to-school spending shifts to technology
Back-to-school spending is expected to reach $28.1 billion, averaging $529 per student in households buying clothing, supplies, computers and electronics for children in grades K to 12. While spending is relatively flat from 2019, there is increased emphasis on technology-based learning tools, including resources to supplement the standard K-12 program.
"The back-to-school shopping season traditionally represents a clear transition to fall, but families this year face a period of uncertainty. With school formats still up in the air for many, the spend is shifting to tech as parents anticipate the possibility of remote learning and the need to supplement students' education. Retailers that can stay nimble and react quickly to changing needs for education amid the challenges of COVID-19, will likely be the ones that will have an opportunity to appeal shoppers this season."
- Rod Sides, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP, and U.S. retail, wholesale and distribution leader
Health and safety concerns drive consumers to move shopping activity online
With health concerns rising, more back-to-school purchases will occur online (37%, up from 29% in 2019), gaining share from in-store purchases (43%). These are more likely to involve a personal computer due to greater at-home computer use as compared to smartphones, which were a driver of shopping activity last year. At the same time, 20% of respondents remain undecided on the format for spending, which presents a $5.5 billion untapped opportunity for retailers this season.
Back-to-college parents weigh difficult decisions
College families are faced with uncertainty as they weigh the value of education that students are receiving during the COVID-19 era, especially as many colleges and universities are still determining how school will reopen in the fall. Faced with concerns over their family's health, finances and the unknowns of campus life, parents of college-age children still plan to maintain spending in anticipation of a return to campus, and will spend $25.4 billion, or approximately $1,345 per student.
"College students across the country are ready to return to campus, but continued health, safety and financial concerns are weighing on families. As such, parents plan to give their children as normal a college experience as possible with consistent spending for electronics, household products, clothing and traditional supplies. As parents adapt to the new realities of the pandemic, online shopping is poised to make up a greater percentage of back-to-college purchases, with convenience and safety being more important components of this year's shopping experience."
- Stephen Rogers, executive director, Deloitte Insights Consumer Industry Center, Deloitte LLP
About the surveys
The annual "Deloitte Back-to School Survey" was conducted online using an independent research panel May 29-June 5, 2020 and surveyed 1,200 parents who have at least one child attending school in grades K-12 this fall.
The annual "Deloitte Back-to-College Survey" was conducted online using an independent research panel between May 31 and June 17, 2020. The survey polled a sample of 1,025 parents of children heading to colleges and universities this fall.
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About the Deloitte Foundation
The Deloitte Foundation supports education initiatives that help develop future talent. Our STEM bold plays provide data analytics/computer science curriculum to under-resourced and underrepresented high school students introducing pathways to a range of college and professional possibilities where these skills and mindsets are increasingly important in light of COVID-19.
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