Aug 14, 2023 - News

Chicago families' back-to-school shopping habits are changing

Illustration of an eaten apple with a skin made of a dollar bill

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Chicago parents will be spending less on back-to-school supplies this year, according to a new survey from Deloitte.

Why it matters: Rising costs are squeezing families' back-to-school budgets, but a slowdown in spending could hurt local businesses during one of the year's biggest shopping periods.

By the numbers: School supply prices increased nearly 24% in the past two years, per the national report.

  • Parents across all income groups plan to pull back this year, with total spending expected to drop 10%.

Zoom in: The report says parents are having to make strategic decisions within their school supply budget. They're spending more on classroom supplies but less on apparel and technology.

  • Still, nearly six in 10 parents surveyed say they would be "willing to splurge for the right reasons, like treating their child or allowing their child to express themselves," per the report.

Between the lines: Deloitte says its data show consumers are looking to pad their savings accounts and shift more of their budget to experiences like leisure and travel.

What they're saying: "Families are finding ways to economize — that includes shopping in-store (where nearly two-thirds say they find lower prices) and using social media to find back-to-school savings," Deloitte principal Matt Adams tells Axios.

Be smart: Unlike last year, Illinois is no longer freezing back-to-school sales taxes.

Details: Block Club compiled local events that offer free supplies, haircuts, dental exams and info sessions ahead of the school year. Here are a few:


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