The forecast: Our back-to-school forecast expects sales will rise 2.9% to $71.74 billion this year.
Slow growth: One reason we expect modest growth is that two of the primary back-to-school categories, consumer electronics and apparel, have had middling results this year.
Differing views: Two other back-to-school forecasts—both of which are based on consumer surveys—offer starkly different outlooks (from us and each other) for the back-to-school season. (For the sake of comparison, our forecast is based on a category-by-category model that considers critical elements such as how inflation impacts sales.)
A wide swing in expectations for technology-related purchases helps explain the significant discrepancy between the models. NRF expects big-ticket electronics purchases will fuel growth because 69% of respondents to its survey expect to buy electronics or other computer-related accessories this year. Deloitte takes a very different view as it expects technology-related purchases to decline 12.8%.
The big takeaway: Modest back-to-school sales growth appears likely given the results that we’ve seen so far this year.
First Published on Jul 14, 2023
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