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NRF Sees Back-to-School Spending Decline


Washington, D.C., Anew survey by the National Retail Federation (NRF) indicates that consumer back-to-school spending won’t match last year’s levels. The trade association found that families with school-aged children will spend an average of $443.77 on back-to-school items, 8.2% lower than last year. The NRF estimates total back-to-school spending at $13.39 billion this year, vs. $14.79 billion last year.

The biggest decline will be seen in the electronics category. In the NRF’s research, that segment fell to $2.06 billion from last year’s $3.09 billion. Back-to-school spending on apparel will remain strong. Of the polled families, 93.9% cited plans to buy clothing for the back-to-school season, spending an average of $205.31 on apparel. However, that’s still less than the $219.46 they spent on back-to-school clothes last year.

Changes in back-to-school spending are inconsistent from region to region. Applicable Midwestern families will spend only $404.68 on average for the back-to-school season vs. last year’s $571.67, and families in the South will spend $434.09 this year as compared to $535.53 last year. However, families in the Northeast will increase their average back-to-school spending to $513.07 from $435.37, and families in the West will spend $409.19 vs. $381.47 last year.

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