Special Report: Back To School

Licensed apparel and backpacks look to ride the new wave this school season.
Jane Neal

August 30, 2021


When students return to school this fall, many will be there in person after an unprecedented, prolonged hiatus. According to NPD Group, two-thirds of parents with children between ages 5 and 18 expect their kids to start the upcoming school year in classrooms again. There’s a good chance that rate will increase as the start of the school year grows closer and the pandemic outlook becomes clearer. What will back to school (BTS) look like for kids and parents this year? While we probably won’t see a big run on spiral notebook purchases to rival last year’s toilet paper frenzy, there’s bound to be a significant, if not dramatic, uptick in consumer buying. Even while in the midst of carefree, mid-summer fun, most consumers begin their BTS shopping fairly early. In fact, InMobi reports that most BTS shopping begins in July, although students shopping for themselves tend to procrastinate and wait until the last minute. It’s impossible to use 2020 trends to predict this year’s BTS spend. In 2020, due to COVID-19, parents spent more heavily on computers and at-home supplies. Now that the 2021-22 school year is expected to look a bit more like what we consider normal, it feels safe to assume that…

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