With back-to-school shopping season in full swing at major retailers like Amazon, Walmart and Target, the hottest products on the market include a solid mix of classroom staples, high-tech gadgets and fun accessories.
“Families are now in a state of mind where they feel a lot more confident about the economy,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement. “With stronger employment levels and a continued increase in wages, consumers are spending more and we are optimistic that they will continue to do so throughout the rest of the year. As students head back to the classroom, retailers are prepared to meet their needs whether it’s for pencils and paper, shirts and pants or laptops and tablets.”
Back-to-school season sales are expected to reach $83.6 billion this year, up more than 10% from last year’s total of $75.8 billion, according to the National Retail Federation. Families of children attending elementary through high school are projected to spend about $687.72 per child. Items like clothing, consumer electronics and school supplies drive the majority of spending.
While classroom supplies drive the bulk of Walmart’s back-to-school business, the retailer said it is highlighting tech gadgets like HP’s Silver Iridium laptop ($559), Samsung’s Chromebook 3 ($169), and a 32-inch Roku TV ($148) during this year’s promotion. Licensed items featuring superheroes like Batman, Wonder Woman and the Power Rangers are also heavily featured, Walmart said.
“Our top-selling items remain consistent year-over-year and include classroom essentials like glue sticks, crayons, notebooks, backpacks and apparel. For the most part, these remain the classroom staples and we predict we'll see similar results this year,” a Walmart spokesperson told FOX Business.
Target’s top-selling back-to-school items include Elmer’s glue products, wide and college-ruled notebooks, index cards and various Crayola items. A company spokesperson said popular product trends include “food-inspired supplies,” such as Yoobi’s ice cream cone pens ($1.99), as well as products with superhero and 90’s throwback themes and iridescent prints.
“Target’s back-to-school assortment includes a wide variety of parent-approved and kid-loved national and exclusive brands, from Crayola and Mead to exclusives like Cat & Jack and Yoobi,” the company said.
Amazon representatives declined to provide details on their back-to-school promotions, but a quick check of the company’s website shows that Crayola art products like colored pencils, watercolor paints, crayons, markers and construction paper are dominating the bestseller list.
Laurie Schacht, CEO of the Toy Insider, highlighted several licensed products among her recommendations for hottest back-to-school items of 2017. Her top picks include Power Rangers backpacks at Target ($15.99), Shopkins-themed Skechers sneakers (available at all three retailers) and Nalgene’s Lunch Box Buddy ($24.99).
“Kids love new gear, whether it’s the shoes on their feet, the new jacket, or the cool backpack. Nostalgic products will always tug the heartstrings on mom and dad, especially when they realize Power Rangers is celebrating its 25th Anniversary,” Schacht told FOX Business.