Americans Plan to Spend Billions More on Back-to-School Shopping This Year

Americans are expected to spend $75.8 billion on back-to-school supplies this year — $7.8 billion more than last year, according to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) annual survey, conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics.

Continue Reading Below

“Families are still looking for bargains, but there are signs that they are less worried about the economy than in the past,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said in a press release

The NRF surveyed more than 6,800 consumers about their back-to-school and -college plans, finding that families with children in grades K-12 are expected to spend

The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.

The survey found that most families (96%) will invest in new school supplies like notebooks, folders, pencils, backpacks and lunchboxes, accounting for $4.37 billion in spending. Ninety-five percent of families plan to purchase new clothes for back-to-school season, accounting for $9.54 billion, and ninety-four percent plan to get new shoes ($5.12 billion). Just over half of families (57%) will purchase electronics, like computers or calculators, accounting for $8.27 billion.

The average spending per family in each category breaks down as follows:

Continue Reading Below

  • Clothing:
  • Electronics:
  • Shoes:
  • School Supplies:

    Spending for college students

    “Whether it’s laptops for class or mini-fridges for the dorm, college simply costs more than [primary and secondary school],” Shay said in the press release.

    Of those surveyed, 81% said they plan to buy school supplies ($3.53 billion), 72% said they’d be buying personal care items ($4.26 billion) and around 70% are buying clothing ($7.49 billion), food items ($5.78 billion) and shoes ($3.84 billion).

    Less than half of respondents plan to buy electronics ($11.54 billion), branded collegiate gear ($2.7 billion), dorm furnishings ($6.23 billion) or gift cards ($3.14 billion). 

    The average spending per family on these categories is: