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Press Release

ICSC Releases 2023 Back-to-School Survey Results

August 3, 2023

MEDIA ALERT: ICSC’s Back-to-School 2023 Consumer Survey Reveals Shoppers’ Intentions to Increase Spending and Hunt for Deals

ATTN: Retail/Real Estate/Business/Economic Editors and Reporters

WHAT: Consumer behavior data for the 2023 back-to-school shopping season
WHEN: The ICSC Back-to-School 2023 consumer survey was conducted July 14 – 16, 2023, with a demographically representative U.S. sample of 1,008 respondents.

QUOTE: “ICSC’s Back-to-School 2023 survey shows that shoppers plan to spend more on school-related items this year compared to last year. While inflation is a partial driver of higher spending, our data found that the consumer remains resilient, but is certainly focused on deal-hunting for the best prices in the face of rising costs.”

  • Tom McGee, President and CEO, ICSC 


  • Shoppers will spend an average of $969 during this year’s back-to-school shopping season, an increase from $911 in 2022.
  • Nearly half (48%) of adults in the U.S. will buy back-to-school items this year.
  • Seventy-five percent of shoppers plan to increase their spending on back-to-school items compared to 2022.
  • Of those who plan to increase their spending, 60% say they are doing so as a result of higher prices and inflation, compared to only 43% who said the same in 2022.
  • Seven in 10 consumers said they will shop at discount stores (an increase of five percentage points from last year), making it the most popular type of retailer for back-to-school shopping.
  • Nearly half (45%) of shoppers are looking to purchase items when they’re on sale due to higher prices and inflation, while 38% plan to buy from brands that are generally cheaper.
  • An overwhelming majority (91%) say their back-to-school purchases are influenced by promotions, while nine in 10 say inflation and rising prices will impact their purchases, consistent with 2022 results.
  • Nearly three-fourths (72%) of respondents are sticking to a strict budget this year.
  • The majority of back-to-school shoppers plan to make their purchases later in the season, with 44% of spending expected to happen in August.
  • Electronics will account for the largest portion of expected spending for consumers ($261), though school supplies saw the biggest increase from recent years ($168, up from $137 in 2022). Other top spending categories include apparel ($233), furniture ($205), and sporting goods ($102).

About ICSC
The member organization for industry advancement, ICSC promotes and elevates the marketplaces and spaces where people shop, dine, work, play and gather as foundational and vital ingredients of communities and economies. ICSC produces experiences that create connections and catalyze deals; aggressively advocates to shape public policy; develops high-impact marketing and public relations that influence opinion; provides an enduring platform for professional success; and creates forward-thinking content with actionable insights – all of which drive industry innovation and growth. For more information, please visit www.ICSC.com.


Stephanie Cegielski

Vice President, Research & Public Relations