Lower Gas Prices, Higher Wages Boost Back-To-School Spending
As parents start their back-to-school and back-to-college shopping, retailers should be ready with well-stocked shelves, says Deborah Weinswig, head of Fung Global Retail and Technology.
“We expect sales to reach near-record levels — up 2-3%,” says Weinswig, who is also a FORBES contributor. “There are more kids in school, and parents plan to shop earlier.”
“There’s wage growth and a good labor market.” The unemployment rate has dropped to 4.9% as wages have grown by 2.6%.
Add to that picture average U.S. gas prices of $2.15 per gallon — versus $2.63 this time last year — and shoppers simply have a little more in their wallets to spend.
Retailers are likely to enjoy an 8.1% increase in spending on clothing, 7.6% more on shoes and a healthy 10.3% boost on school supplies, she says.
“We’re seeing a very different mindset. The consumer is feeling stronger and better.”
They’ll also be buying electronics, spending, on average $107 for phones, laptops and tablets — a 10.3% jump.
“There’s generally a much more positive outlook for back-to-school,” says Weinswig, thanks to three key retail trends ” “localization, customization and personalization.”
Mobile shopping continues to grow as consumers “want to know where to shop. The geo-location is much better.” While a third of back-to-school shopping is done on-line, 70-80% of it is completed in-store.