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Big Back To School Spending Predicted

Posted by Michael Bloch in ecommerce (Saturday July 21, 2012 )

After a somewhat lean back-to-school spend last year, it seems US merchants can look forward to a more profitable year this year – and the spending will start to happen earlier.

While over 84 percent of US consumers with school-aged children say the economy will impact their spending plans in some way, the National Retail Federation’s 2012 Back-to-School spending survey says the average person with children in grades K-12 will spend $688.62 on their children, substantially higher than last year ($603.63).

An estimated average of $246.10 will be spent on clothes and $217.88 on electronics. Even basic supplies will see a hefty amount being spent – an average of $95.44 on school supplies such as notebooks, pencils and backpacks.

47.8% plan to start shopping three weeks to one month before school resumes and 22.3 percent said they would shop at least two months before school starts – so some have probably already begun buying school supplies. Only 24% will start their shopping one to two weeks before school.

Just under 40% will shop for school supplies online, up from 31.7 percent last year. Many of those who do turn to the Internet will be looking for free shipping offers.

Even the kids themselves will be getting in on the act, with 13-17 year olds spending $36.48 on items such as pens and paper, up from $31.64 last year. The very young ‘uns (6-12 year olds) will spend quite an astounding average $25.63 on what they want for school, up over 50% on last year.

A point worth noting even in terms of the adult purchasers – 63.5 percent of parents say their children have at least 50 percent of a say in what they buy.

Combined K-12 and college spending is projected to hit $83.8 billion, making it the second biggest cash-cow for retailers behind the winter holidays.

Past the back-to-school spending frenzy, people looking to make related savings will shop online more often (17.9% vs. 15.3% last year) and comparison shop online (32.1% vs. 29.8% last year.)

NRF’s 2012 Back-to-School and Back-to-College spending surveys were conducted by BIGinsight among 8,509 consumers. The full survey report can be accessed here.


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