After Christmas and the winter holidays, households spend more money during the back to school season than any other holiday, according to the National Retail Foundation. And, when coupled together, spending on back to college and back to school outpaces winter holiday spending by 50% per year.
It has been interesting to see how retailers have pivoted during the coronavirus pandemic in terms of how they are marketing and promoting back to school specials. Walmart, for example, titled one of its television commercials, “Back to School: Class/Room” to cover whether kids are going back to school or staying home and participating in distance learning sessions. Other retailers have made sure to cover all the possible bases for which kids might be going back to school this Fall in their ad campaigns in order to appeal to the widest audience.
This year, the average family is expected to spend $789 on back to school items, and $1,059 on back to college items, for a total of more than $101 billion, according to the National Retail Foundation. Last year, families spent $80 billion, according to the NRF. That is a huge year-over-year increase at a time when many families are dealing with circumstances they have never faced before.
To help make ends meet, a lot of families may be looking to credit cards, retail credit cards, and other forms of borrowing to cover the expenses of getting their kids ready to go back to school. Even in the middle of a pandemic, this back to school season is going to be unlike any other, as the data is already indicating. Nearly two-thirds of families are planning on buying computers and other electronics — purchases that may typically be made using credit — up from 54% last year. So while families may be spending less on clothing and school supplies, according to a survey conducted in June by Deloitte, they are spending more in other areas, like electronics, because so many school districts are incorporating some amount of distance learning into their curriculums.
Many families are waiting until the last minute to go out and do their back to school shopping as they wait for states and school districts to make decisions about how they will handle educating children while trying to keep the coronavirus pandemic from spreading. Even now, in early August, a significant number of Americans have not yet finished their back to school shopping, even as some students in some states have started their school years.
For lenders and other creditors, staying in touch with consumers is incredibly important during this time of year. Letting consumers know that they have options available to them to help them get the equipment and supplies they need to make sure their children are able to participate in any kind of learning environment is incredibly important. Text messaging has already been established as a high-percentage way of ensuring that customers are receiving and reading your important communications. Continuing to send text messages during this important season is a great opportunity to show your customers you care and are there to help them in any and every way needed.