What’s Ahead for Back-to-School 2024 and Beyond?

To help you sharpen your strategy for next year’s all-important season, the Future of Office Supplies can help answer five critical questions.

How is average selling price (ASP) expected to change in 2024?

We expect ASP to remain flat in 2024*. Inflation remains persistently high but is beginning to decelerate. Interest rate hikes to combat the inflation bled into May but are not expected to persist throughout the remainder of the year. Rate cuts should begin in 2024.

*Excluding janitorial and sanitation

What are the drivers and drags to watch for next year?

The coloring category should rebound in 2024 due to growth in crayons. Dollar declines are expected to slow for the coloring & art category overall.

Dated products are expected to decline 5% in dollar sales in 2024, but this may be an opportunity to explore which underlying classes are impacting these changes in the market.

Do you see any bright spots for Holiday 2023 that could set us up for a strong start in 2024?

One area we’re watching is envelopes, where we expect a 2% dollar increase this holiday season. Clasp and commercial envelopes are expected to see positive dollar growth over 2022. Our consumer survey responses point to Boomers’ preference for analog mailing methods — they’re the largest cohort to have bought from the mailing & shipping category in the past year.

Do teachers expect changes in 2024 that could affect the office supplies market?

12% of teachers tell us they expect to receive lower funding for their classrooms in the 2024 school year. It will be vital to demonstrate value for this group since their budgets may be tighter.

How has technology influenced office supplies purchases?

Capturing consumers’ attention (and growing your share of wallet!) will be the key to success for Back-to-School 2024. 23% of respondents who have children under 18 in their households said they expect to buy fewer school supplies because of technology devices.

62% of parents said their preschoolers used a tech device for school learning in Q2 2023. That’s evidence of expanded tech penetration into the earliest learning years, which could have an impact on future spending.

Source: Circana, Future of Office Supplies, October 2023