Electronics, clothing and shoes are the most popular back-to-school items as kids return to in-person learning, according to the nation's largest retail trade group.
Households with children in kindergarten through high school are projected to collectively spend $13 billion on electronics this back-to-school season, according to National Retail Federation (NRF). They are also projected to spend another $11 billion on clothing and $7 billion on shoes.
"With many kids back in classrooms this year, parents are shopping for items their children will need for in-person learning," Katherine Cullen, NRF's senior director of industry and consumer insights, told FOX business. "Similar to pre-pandemic years, the most popular back-to-school categories are clothing, accessories and school supplies."
This includes outfits for the first day of school, pencils, notebooks and backpacks, she added.
However, with persistently high inflation – consumer prices increased 8.5% in July, remaining near a 40-year high – these popular items are going to make a bigger dent in consumers' wallets than ever before. It's causing many to rethink their spending habits and rely on certain money-saving tactics to offset the costs.
Here is a breakdown of how much back-to-school items, as well as school fees, increased on an unadjusted annual basis in July, according to the consumer price index.
- Boys' apparel: 4.8%
- Girls' apparel: 1.6%
- Boys' and girls' footwear: 7.7%
- Educational books and supplies: 3.1%
- Stationery, stationery supplies, gift wrap: 11%
- Education and communication services: 1.5%
- Elementary and high school tuition and fees: 3.1%
However, prices did ease in certain areas.
The cost of computers, peripherals and smart home assistants dipped 3.5% while the cost of computer software and accessories dropped 1.4%.
Additionally, the cost of telephone hardware, calculators, and other consumer information items declined by 12.7%.