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NRF Looks At Back-To-School, Current Economic Environments

NSGA News • August 15, 2023

DOWNERS GROVE, ILLINOIS (August 15, 2023) – The National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA) recently participated in a webinar hosted by the National Retail Federation (NRF) focused on the 2023 back-to-school retail environment and an overview of current economic conditions. Below is a bullet-point recap of the discussion.

Topline Economic Factors

  • The second quarter continued the track of faster growth than many had expected. However, we should expect to see a slowdown from the federal reserve monetary policy tightening.
  • Overall we continue to see a sturdy consumer environment. While the pace of spending at retail has been slower, it has remained relatively positive.
  • Consumers have been adjusting where to buy and how much in terms of goods and services.
  • Household finances are generally healthy. Credit has increased, but not to the point where consumers can’t pay it back. Wages are rising and savings are going up, although not to the point where they were prior to the pandemic.
  • Employment has held strong, which in turn has helped spending as people are more willing to spend when they are secure in their jobs.
  • Moving forward for the last half of 2023, the labor market will be the key story that will continue to shape the economy.

Topline Back to School

  • Back to School and Back to College spending expected to be at all-time highs at $41.5B and $94.0B, respectively. Clothing and Accessories will continue to be key categories with planned spending at $257 per student for back to school and $182 for back to college. The increases are driven by consumers needing more new items for the school year as opposed to spending more because prices are higher, which is a scenario that occurred last year.
  • The current state of the economy is impacting back-to-school purchases as consumers are doing more comparative shopping online, shopping more sales and buying more store brand/generic products than compared to previous years.


Back to School Finances School Supplies National Retail Federation Shopping Economy NRF Retail NSGA