Home » Inflation expected to ratchet up back-to-school costs, survey says

Inflation expected to ratchet up back-to-school costs, survey says

Inflation expected to ratchet up back-to-school costs, survey says

Parents are bracing for a back-to-school season that’s significantly pricier than last year — and inflation is partly to blame.

A survey by KPMG of 1,000 households in May found that parents expect to spend 32 percent more this year as prices for everything from backpacks to notebooks rise.

Parents expect to spend 21 percent more on footwear for their kids, 14 percent more on apparel and 16 percent more on school supplies, according to the survey.

Altogether, parents could pay as much $268 per student compared to $247 in 2020, according to the report.

Preschooler costs are likely to rise the most — a 32 percent spike — while college students’ costs may go up by 13 percent and costs for high school and middle school students are expected to rise by just 4 and 3 percent, respectively, according to the survey.

While the big increases are partly because many preschoolers and college kids will be heading back to class after taking the year off, parents also expect to pay more because of inflation that has been sparked by spotty supplies from manufacturers and heightened demand, KPMG said.

In all, 39 percent of parents report that costs will be steeper this year because of inflation.

Spending on electronics and furniture — which spiked during the pandemic as families bulked up on remote learning merchandise — is not expected to increase significantly, according to the survey.

Several kids at a playground on swings.
Parents already stocked up on electronics and homework-related furniture last year.
Hearst Newspapers via Getty Imag

“The prior back-to-school season was a bright spot for retailers concentrated in virtual learning categories, including electronics, computers and furniture,” Matt Kramer, KPMG U.S. national sector leader, consumer and retail, said in a statement. “This year the composition of spend is pivoting, with parents once again buying categories aligned with in-person learning and social interaction.”

Retailers are also less likely to offer a lot of discounts this year as supply chain issues are still a major problem.

Back-to-school supplies at a store.
Parents expect to spend $268 per student on school supplies this year.
Getty Images

“There are fewer promotions and coupon offers, so the price realization has gone up pretty significantly across a lot of retail categories,” Scott Rankin, strategy lead of KPMG’s consumer and retail division in the US, told CNBC. “We haven’t quite yet seen the full-court press from the office supply stores and some of the mass merchandisers and the big e-commerce players … but I do think we are going to see less promotionally around [school] supplies.”

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Julia Mangels

Julia has handled various businesses throughout her career and has a deep domain knowledge. She founded Stock Market Pioneer in an attempt to bring the latest news to its readers. She is glued to the stock market most of the times and just loves being in touch with the developments in the business world.

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