Back-to-School Retail Sales Predictions

Jul 7, 2021

The 2021 Back-to-School Retail Sales Predictions are In

The back to school season is a time for new beginnings and a fresh start. And pent-up demand paired with lifted restrictions are continuing to fuel positive growth in the retail sector, with back-to-school sales expected to rise according to Mastercard SpendingPulse. 

Mastercard SpendingPulse accounts for both in-store and online retail sales with all forms of payment, including cash and check. 

The back-to-school time period has always been an important season for retailers, and this year is no different, with YoY sales expected to rise 5.5%, and 6.7% over 2019’s sales data.

The Return to Retail in 2021 brings about a sign of optimism for the industry as a whole - with children approaching a much more “normal” school year and adults heading back into the office. This “normal” also brings about a choice for shoppers once again: buy online or shop in store?

Online and e-commerce sales gained more momentum throughout the pandemic, and online sales continue to remain strong. Brick and mortar sales have regained their momentum with the help from strong retailer promotions and hygiene upgrades.

Here are some ideas to help you make the most of consumers increased interest in returning to your center during Back to school:

Focus efforts on categories forecast to be of the most interest to consumers, such as:

  • Apparel, which is expected to grow 78.2% YoY and 11.3% over 2019’s data.
  • Department Stores are projected for 25.3% growth YoY and 9.5% increase over 2019.
  • Electronics are on pace for an increase of 13.0% YoY and an increase of 9.6% over 2019’s numbers. 

For school-age children and parents, the back-to-school season is often less about getting the essentials - stocking up on school supplies and first day of school clothes - and more about creating as many joyful memories as possible. 

The 2021 back-to-school season will ride the existing retail sales momentum, with US retail sales experiencing eight consecutive months of growth - and is showing no signs of slowing anytime soon.

Download the pdf here:
Back-to-School Retail Sales Predictions