Skip to main content

JLL: Back-to-school spending to rise 15.7%; parents looking for deals

Walmart and Target retain their top spots for parents to shop for back-to-school items.
Walmart and Target retain their top spots for parents to shop for back-to-school items.

Parents shopping for back-to-school this year will compensate for higher prices by spending more and looking for sales. 

Parents plan to spend 15.7% more on back-to-school this year compared to the previous year, considerably more than the year-over-year inflation rate of 4.9%, according to JLL’s “Back-to-School Survey.”  The study reveals that 55.2% of parents will budget more to accommodate higher prices for the same number of items they bought last year. 

Similar to last year, mass retailers such as Walmart (58.6%), Target (54.2%) and Amazon (46%) retain their top spots for parents to shop for back-to-school. Other retailers in the top 10 list include Old Navy, Kohl’s, Staples, Macy’s, Office Depot, Costco and Dollar General.

Below are other key takeaways from JLL’s Back-to-School Shopping Report 2023. 

•Parents will start early. By July, more than 60% of parents would have begun their shopping, but the most popular month remains August.

•Parents want ease of delivery. Twenty-four percent of parents prioritized free shipping over cost when determining where to shop online. (This is understandable, JLL said, given that the percentage of parents ordering online for their kid’s school supplies has soared over 21% since the pandemic.)

•Free shipping more important than cost. More parents prioritized free shipping (24.1%) above all other factors when determining where to shop.

•Most parents will buy stationery and apparel. Clothing and stationery are the top items parents plan to pick up for back-to-school shopping this year. Accessories like backpacks or lunch bags were the third most popular item, while over 30% of parents plan to buy home office and art & craft supplies.

•More than half of parents will look for sales.  A majority (69.5%) of parents will look for sales and deals this year to save money.  However, fewer parents said that inflation will affect how they normally shop for back-to-school. 

 "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.”

“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.

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.  

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds