Demand surges for child desk sets amid back-to-school uncertainty
As parents gear up for the beginning of the school year, they’re outfitting their homes with mini classrooms with the expectation that most learning will be conducted remotely. Even most schools in New York, one of the few areas to announce any in-person instruction, will likely pursue a hybrid model of in-school physical and at-home digital learning.
Over the summer, demand surged for backyard camp and entertaining gear like film projectors or tents. Consumers also invested in quirky items like disposable urinals as they traveled and avoided public areas. This fall’s must-have item is a little more by the book, however. Profitero, an e-commerce analytics firm, found that searches for “kid’s desk and chair set” rose by a factor of 17 times on Amazon from June 6 to July 25. A search for “school supplies for kids” increased by 31 times, according to Profitero.
“Search has long been a reflection of consumer behavior, and the uncertainty of the school year is absolutely reflected in Amazon and Google's search box,” says Sarah Hofstetter, president of Profitero. “The big trick, as we've learned earlier this year on toilet paper and yeast, is finding e-tailers that have the right products and the right price, in stock,” she adds.
Indeed, desk sets are already beginning to disappear. A Profitero spokeswoman noted that out of stock rates are high for the desk sets on several ecommerce sites including Wayfair. A Wayfair spokeswoman says the home furnishings brand is seeing an uptick in customer interest across every room of the home, and notes that desks for children “continue to be in high demand.”
Here’s what else parents are stocking up on.
Thirteen percent of consumers plan to purchase electronics including laptops, tablets and printers, according to data compiled by Numerator. Sales of laptops and tablets were up 15 percent from June 1 through July 12, compared with the year-earlier period.
Without a school classroom to rely on, many consumers are buying more of their own supplies. Numerator reports elevated sales of such items. But stay-at-home schooling means demand is surging for stuff not on shopping lists in normal times, like organizers for harried parents. Etsy recently ran a sponsored post on Instagram for "Handcrafted helpers"—charts to help parents organize schedules for different children.
Arts and crafts
Crayola hosts an at-home hub for homebound parents and kids searching for creativity with an element of education. Josh Kroo, senior VP of brand marketing and digital strategy for Crayola, says that items like an art-infused math kit for elementary students is particularly resonating with consumers.