Back-to-school spending to fall from last year

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Back-to-school spending to fall from last year

By Marianne Wilson - 07/15/2019
Back-to-school spending is set to rise per household but fall overall as the number of students in school and college declines.

That’s according to a survey by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights and Analytics which found that total spending for K-12 schools and college combined is projected to reach $80.7 billion, down from last year’s $82.8 billion largely because of the decreased number of households with children in elementary through high school.

The survey found that families with children in elementary school through high school plan to spend an average $696.70. That’s up from $684.79 last year and tops the previous record of $687.72 set in 2017. However, with fewer families surveyed saying they have children in grades K-12, spending is expected to total $26.2 billion, down from last year’s $27.5 billion.

Families with college students are expected to spend an average $976.78, which is up from last year’s $942.17 and tops the previous record of $969.88 set in 2017. With fewer survey respondents saying they are attending college, spending is expected to total $54.5 billion, down from last year’s record $55.3 billion.

In other findings:
• Clothing and accessories will top K-12 families’ expenses at an average $239.82, followed by electronics such as computers, calculators and phones ($203.44); shoes ($135.96) and supplies such as notebooks, pencils, backpacks and lunch boxes ($117.49).

• K-12 families plan to do most of their shopping at department stores (53%), discount stores (50%), online (49%), clothing stores (45%) and office supply stores (31%).

• Among K-12 shoppers, teens are expected to spend an average $36.71 of their own money, up from $30.88 10 years ago, while pre-teens should spend $26.40, up from $11.94 10 years ago.

• College shoppers plan to spend the most on electronics ($234.69), followed by clothing and accessories ($148.54), dorm and apartment furnishings ($120.19) and food items ($98.72). They plan to do most of their shopping online (45%), followed by department stores (39%), discount stores (36%), college bookstores (32%) and office supply stores (29%).

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