Back-to-school tech spending to explode in 2021
by Paul Davenport Paul Davenport on

It’s been a long and trying school year for parents and students alike, who are all hopefully in the midst of enjoying a much more conventional summer vacation this year than last. But even with many students returning fully to the classroom this fall, how much of the digital transformation that took place in education during the pandemic will hold over?

According to a new survey by Deloitte, quite a bit: Spending on new tech is forecast to jump 37 percent for K-12 students and 16 percent for college students over 2020 levels, with parents and students seeking out an estimated $11.8 billion in new computers, smartphones, tablets and wearables.

At the same time, 44 percent of respondents plan to purchase far fewer traditional school supplies in 2021, even with most students going in-person by September.

On the flip side, 58 percent of those polled said they plan to purchase online resources leading into the new school year, which will result in one of the biggest back-to-school shopping sprees in recent memory.

In total, Deloitte expects that Americans will spend $32.5 billion on K-12 students ($612 per student) while back-to-college tech spending will top $26.7 billion ($1,459 per student); a 16 percent and 5 percent increase, respectively.

“Even if students are fully in the classroom, a lot of them are used to a more digital learning experience. That was one of the biggest changes that we saw this year in the survey, how much digital learning has propelled the technology spending this year,” said Kate Fererra, RWD practice leader, Risk & Financial Advisory, in the report.

Where folks shop back-to-school is also being impacted heavily this year, as 7 percent fewer K-12 households plan to visit mass-merchant stores than in 2020.

The “buy online, pickup in store” method that took off during the pandemic to help limit in-person foot traffic is also being carried into 2021, as 34 percent of consumers plan to leverage this method for their shopping.

Digital transformation still ramping up

While these spending habits indicate a more connected classroom experience, they also reflect the continued digital transformation of our households, which was kicked into high gear as part of the pandemic. While a lot of this change was to facilitate a huge increase in remote learning, it was also to support the housebound knowledge workers who made their kitchens or living rooms their office at the start of the pandemic.

After all, with many roles that went home for the first time at the start of the pandemic staying that way for the long-term, students only represent a fraction of the stakeholders vying for Internet bandwidth in the modern household.

With workers and their families increasingly using tech in the field, the IT teams supporting these remote users need visibility into how applications and the networks supporting them are performing from virtually anywhere. Whether it’s a traditional enterprise IT team or the operations unit managing an academic network, visibility from the end-user perspective is step one in resolving major performance hurdles from afar before they impact the larger network.


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Filed Under: Industry Insights

Tags: home internet , hybrid work , remote working , remote learning , learn from anywhere , work from anywhere , academia , university , college , k 12 , school shopping , back to school , network monitoring , network management