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.
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“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:
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- School Supplies:
“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:
- Dorm Furnishings:
- Personal Care Items:
- School Supplies:
- Gift Cards:
- Branded Gear:
The report cites consumer confidence in the economy as an influencer in the increased spending. In fact, 27% of respondents said the economy will have no effect on their plans this year, the highest level in the survey’s history. Nearly half of families (43%) shop sales, while 32% compare prices online.
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