With more children entering elementary and middle school this fall and after cutting back their spending last year, parents with growing children will hit the stores this summer to replace and replenish what their children might have had to “make-do” with last school season.
According to National Retail Federation’s 2012 Back-to-School spending survey conducted by BIGinsight, the average person with children in grades K-12 will spend $688.62 on their children, up from $603.63 last year. Total spending is expected to reach $30.3 billion.
Combined K-12 and college spending will reach $83.8 billion, serving as the second biggest consumer spending event for retailers behind the winter holidays.
“When it comes to their children, there’s nothing more important to a parent than making sure their children have everything they need, even in a tough economy—and especially when it comes to back-to-school shopping,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “Backpacks rip, pencils break, and children grow, there’s no way around it, but as they begin tackling their shopping lists, parents will make sure to spend smarter than they ever have before. We fully expect retailers to be aggressive with their promotions both in-store and online, keeping an eye on inventory levels as families look to spread out their shopping throughout the entire summer.”
Not surprising, parents will spend the most on clothing, accessories and electronics this summer. Realistic about the cost of select items and the necessities needed for the school year, parents estimate they will spend an average of $246.10 on clothes and $217.88 on electronics. Nearly six in 10 (59.6 percent) will invest in some sort of electronic device, a sharp increase from the 51.9 percent who planned to do so last year.
Additionally, the average person with children in grades K-12 will spend $129.20 on shoes and $95.44 on school supplies such as notebooks, pencils and backpacks.
Getting a jump-start
Hoping to spread out their spending, more people have already or will begin shopping earlier than they did last year, the survey showed.
Almost half (47.8 percent) are planning to begin shopping three weeks to one month before the school bell rings, up from 42.4 percent last year, and 22.3 percent have likely already made a dent in their shopping list, saying they began shopping at least two months before school starts, up from 21.8 percent last year.
Another quarter (24.0 percent) of Americans will start shopping one to two weeks before school, and 2.7 percent will wait until school starts. With some people having less to shop for and hoping to stock up on clearance items, 3.2 percent will shop after school starts, up from 2.6 percent last year.