Shoppers spending ahead of back-to-school rush

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According to the National Retail Federation, perhaps not. Their May data shows an overall increase in retail spending (17% YoY increase), and they now expect retail to track past the $4.4 trillion mark for the year.

NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said, “For the first five months of this year, retail sales are already tracking 17.6 percent above the same five months of 2020, giving us further confidence in our newly revised sales forecast of growth between 10.5 percent and 13.5 percent to more than $4.44 trillion for 2021. While there are downside risks related to labor shortages, supply chain bottlenecks, tax increases and over-regulation, overall, households are healthier, and consumers are demonstrating their ability and willingness to spend.

Overall, online spending is expected to increase by about 18% YoY this year, to account for at least $1 trillion in sales.

Specific to the back to school season, though, data out from Vericast indicates that about half of parents think their shopping will be different in 2021 than in years past, primarily because they’re shopping online more. And while 41% say they are focused on practical items this time of year nearly half (48%) still believe back to school shopping will be more expensive this year.

To help defray costs about one-third (35%) are looking for retailers to send out deals/discount codes

More data from Vericast can be found here.

However, don’t look for all shoppers to only buy from big name retailers. Data out from SendinBlue Millennials and Gen Z shoppers, especially, are looking to spend more with small businesses. Their data found that pre-pandemic about 40% of all shoppers bought from SMBs, with women leading the way (60% vs 55% of male shoppers).

As to the why, many cite contributing to local economies as their reason for upping their small business spending.

“These results reinforce our core beliefs that contrary to dire prognoses, the outlook for small businesses is extremely promising,” said Steffen Schebesta, CEO of North America, Sendinblue. “Shifting consumer expectations coupled with data privacy concerns, increased desire to support businesses in their community, as well as updated communication preferences, make small businesses the ideal candidates to edge out larger competitors.”

Other interesting findings from the report include:

• 80% say they ‘seek out’ minority owned small businesses
• 53% shop online small businesses because they get ‘superior customer services’
• 79% say they share personal data with SMBs if the business is transparent about how that data will be used
More data from SendinBlue can be found here.



Kristina Knight is a freelance writer with more than 15 years of experience writing on varied topics. Kristina’s focus for the past 10 years has been the small business, online marketing, and banking sectors, however, she keeps things interesting by writing about her experiences as an adoptive mom, parenting, and education issues. Kristina’s work has appeared with, NBC News,, DisasterNewsNetwork, and many more publications.