Paced by anticipated robust demand for attire and equipment, the 2021 back-to-school procuring season will rise a heady 16 p.c over final yr’s clunker, based on analysis and consulting agency Customer Growth Partners.
That tabulates to a file $780 billion in gross sales, for the July-to-September b-t-s season, Customer Growth Partners forecast Wednesday.
“After almost a year of hunkering down, consumers are back in the stores in numbers we haven’t seen since 2019 — if then,” CGP’s president Craig Johnson stated in an announcement. “With b-t-s shopping about to kick off, consumers are flush with cash from a year of record savings, rising wages — and government stimulus — and are ready to unleash a full year of pent-up demand.”
Johnson stated his agency makes use of a “big data” retail platform and area analysis masking greater than 100 procuring venues to trace retail spending. CGP’s back-to-school forecast spans all retail gross sales besides autos, gasoline, eating places, meals and beverage and residential enchancment, primarily based on Department of Commerce census retail classes.
“On a two-year basis,” Johnson stated, “the retail recovery is even more surprising, with back-to-school spending up 25 percent from 2019’s $624 billion pace, itself a record at the time. We’ve never seen retail back-to-school growth this vigorous this century, and perhaps not since the post-war period of the early 1950s. Still, this year’s exceptional back-to-school growth may be the ‘high water’ mark of the recovery, as consumer demand rotates back to services from goods, as the hospitality, travel and entertainment sectors recapture share-of-wallet from retailers.”
For the total yr, CGP initially forecast 8.1 p.c retail gross sales development for 2021, however subsequently upped the forecast to 11.9 p.c.
CGP did mood its bullishness, indicating that year-over-year development will ease this fall, as comparisons grow to be tougher and as providers spending recuperate. “Labor shortages, supply chain bottlenecks and consumer resistance to rising prices may also pressure sales for the second half of 2021,” Johnson stated. “But the greatest uncertainty may be a return of COVID-19, perhaps as a variant, which may dampen consumer spirits just as Holiday spending beckons.”
CGP additionally predicted that:
- For the primary time in many years, attire and equipment gross sales will outpace different merchandise sectors, with “stunning 46 percent growth from 2020’s abysmal sales.”
- Sporting items, toy and interest retailers will rise 21 p.c as hundreds of thousands of as soon as hunkered-down households return to regular recreation patters.
- The COVID-19-induced give attention to the house is easing, as customers flip to the outside, journey and different leisure pursuits — although residence furnishings will nonetheless rise 16 p.c.
- Marking a key milestone, e-commerce development will now not exceed all merchandise sectors, however nonetheless will enhance by greater than 12 p.c. Online b-t-s gross sales will prime $237 billion.
- Department shops will see their finest b-t-s development in years, up 12 p.c, although complete gross sales nonetheless lag previous years. “The past year has provided a unique window into the resilience of the American consumer, the resourcefulness of American retailers — and the underlying strength of the American economy at large,” Johnson stated.