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Despite inflation and financial concerns, parents say they are increasing their spending on back-to-school items for both their K-12 and college students, according to two recent surveys by Deloitte.

Spending on back-to-school supplies is expected to collectively reach up to $34.4 billion for K-12 students and $28.3 billion for college students, the report found. That works out to approximately $661 per K-12 student and $1,600 per college student.

Over half (57%) of surveyed parents of K-12 students expressed concern about the increase in back-to-school product pricing due to inflation, especially as one in three households say they are in a worse financial situation than last year.  Despite economic and inflation worries, parents are determined to buy back-to-school items, and 37% of respondents expect to spend more year-over-year.

“Even as economic and inflationary pressures sit top of mind, parents seem resilient and determined to ensure their children get the school supplies needed to succeed this coming year,” said Nick Handrinos, vice chair and U.S. leader, Retail, Wholesale & Distribution and Consumer Products, Deloitte LLP.

Although the last two years ushered in a new wave of online learning due to COVID-19, shopping and spending for the 2022 back-to-school season looks more traditional. Overall spending on technology products for K-12 students is expected to drop, while spending on traditional products will rise.

K-12 back-to-school shopping this year will likely focus more on clothing (up 18% for respondents year-over-year) and school supplies (up 7%).  Technology spending is set to decline 8% this year for respondents, as many parents previously purchased needed technology supplies last year to meet virtual or hybrid learning needs. In addition, most parents (81%) say their child’s school provides the necessary devices and other technology to students.

Back-to-college shoppers plan to spend approximately $1,600 per student, up 10% from those surveyed last year. With 41% of surveyed students attending college in online or hybrid mode, surveyed parents plan to spend the same or more on online learning resources (51%) and buy fewer traditional college supplies (53%).

Inventory shortages are a concern for families of college students, with 68% of respondents expecting to encounter items being out of stock, leading 56% of those surveyed to say they plan to finish their shopping by the end of July.

The 2022 Deloitte Back-to-School Survey was conducted online using an independent research panel between May 20 and June 2 and surveyed 1,200 parents who have at least one child attending school in grades K-12 this fall.

The 2022 Deloitte Back-to-College Survey was conducted online using an independent research panel between May 20 to June 14. The survey polled a sample of 950 parents of children heading to colleges and universities this fall.