Families having to change back-to-school shopping due to distance learning

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Back to school shopping looks very different this year.

Instead of buying new clothes or supplies, parents are spending money on technology as most schools prepare to return to distance learning in the fall.

"We've seen some big changes in buying patterns for parents," Best Buy Sales Manager J.D. Brown said.

According to Brown, families have shifted toward technology for the new school year.

Depending on a student's grade level, items like laptops and tablets have become a must-own for many households these days.

"We've got entry-level to premium. We've got a lot of kids in K-6th that are going to be able to get away with a Chromebook, and as you get older and your education gets more involved, you make that transition to a Windows Computer or an Apple device," Brown said.

WiFi capabilities is another area of concern for many families.

"Especially with parents working from home as well, when you've got four or five or six devices touching your network at the same time reliability tends to really drop off, so you got to make sure it's robust enough to handle the entire workload of the family plus your entertainment at the same time," Brown said.

Because many items like upgraded webcams and portable WiFi hot spots have been flying off store shelves -- experts recommend shopping for those devices now -- before it's too late.

"Those are very challenging to find right now. The school districts, in order to make sure all their kids had access to the internet, bought most companies out of house and home at the beginning of the pandemic, so if that's a device, you do need account for some extra time to get that thing ordered in for you," Brown said.

Many brands like Best Buy encourage families to log onto their website and register for student deals before coming into the store.
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