Aug 17, 2023 - Education

Boston parents spending more than average on back-to-school shopping

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

Boston-area parents will likely spend more than most American households on back-to-school shopping this year, according to new survey data from Deloitte.

Why it matters: While back-to-school shopping is a tradition for many families, it's also a reminder of how expensive supplies have become.

Driving the news: Boston families plan to spend on average $650 per child on back-to-school shopping this year, compared to a national average of $597.

The big picture: Both figures are actually down compared to last year, Anthony Jardim, a Boston-based principal for Deloitte tells Axios.

  • The national average dropped 10% from last year, but the company declined to share Boston's 2022 numbers because of differing survey methodology.

What they're saying: The dip in spending suggests parents are more concerned about the possibility of an economic downturn, Jardim tells Axios.

  • 34% of parents nationwide — and 33% in Boston — said they were postponing non-essential back-to-school purchases.
  • But parents said they were willing to splurge on clothing or supplies if their children asked, Jardim says.

Zoom out: For 2023 the Northeast had the highest regional average at $671, while the Midwest had the lowest at $552.

Of note: The survey polled 1,212 U.S. parents of school-aged children, including 416 in Boston.

Zoom in: Boston-area parents reported they plan to spend slightly more than others across the country on clothing, accessories, school supplies and "other supplies" like sanitizers, face masks and desks.

Yes, but: Boston parents' total projected spending on electronics fell below the national average.

  • Jardim says that's possibly because parents already bought devices during the pandemic and because schools are issuing devices to students.

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Boston.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Boston stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Boston.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more