Back to School Shopping

Back-To-School Shopping

Are your kids or grandkids going back to school – or have they already started? Whether your children are young or not so young, you certainly know that the back-to-school season is one of the busiest times for retailers.

According to the National Retail Federation, families with children in elementary school through high school plan to spend an average $696.70, which is up from $684.79 last year. Overall, spending is expected to total $26.2 billion, down from last year’s $27.5 billion despite the increase in per-household spending.

Meanwhile, according to the NRF, families with college students are expected to spend an average $976.78, which is up from last year’s $942.17. All told, their spending is expected to total $54.5 billion, down from last year’s record $55.3 billion.

As part of our NCPulse program, we posted a video that asked NCP panel members how much they spent or expected to spend on back-to-school shopping. Most of the respondents to our survey said they spent $100 to $200 on school supplies, and some spent up to $500 on supplies and clothing for their children. 

Now, to be specific, the NRF said that 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.

As for college shoppers, the NRF said they 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%).

Remember: If you do any back-to-school shopping, please record these purchases! Many of these items are sold as multipacks. Please refer to the FAQs section on if you have questions about recording multipacks.

Also, be on the lookout for the next NCPulse video – this one is focused on the end of summer and Labor Day.

Speaking of Labor Day, the Panel Support Center will be closed on Monday, September 2.

I hope you have a nice, relaxing weekend.

Best Regards,

8 thoughts on “Back-To-School Shopping”

  1. While I only have one granddaughter, whom I raised, still in school working on her doctorate in Biology, I still get that great nostalgic feeling when school shopping advertising begins.
    We had such great times shopping each year and, especially when she started college. During her Master’s degree not so much and certainly not now in the Doctorate program but great memories, none the less, through it all!

  2. Instead of spending so much money on new school supplies every year and people having trouble getting out of debt, they should start buying only the things that the schools require and are truly needed. Kids don’t need new clothes if their clothes still fit and look presentable and the same with backpacks; don’t need a new one if the old one still serves its purpose. Only actual school supplies you don’t already have along with a new pair of shoes for sports should be needed. This would take a lot of financial strain of parents that have a difficult time each year trying to accommodate their kids wants instead of actual need. If you absolutely want to get rid of your money then spend what you saved by not buying all new stuff every year and take the money to enroll your kids in extracurricular activities to keep them off the streets and out of trouble so they will have a future some day. Sorry for the long rant, but it truly eats away on me watching these parents struggle.

  3. Wow so much has changed in the way things used to be, an allowance was usually used on extra clothes for the year this was pre 2000 and usually was about $100 and one nice outfit , plus thrift store finds. Your article is nice it would be nice to know what’s the most expensive thing a parent bought for there kid to start school. My stepdaughter it cost more than that to keep her going in her schooling. Almost spend about $500 to start in the Midwest registration, outings for school, school supplies a $100 calculator and sometimes art supplies . We were pretty lucky when they had an all supply bags day in the gym you could buy for start of the year with supplies and a bag for that year of school. It’s well worth getting your kids what they need. The clothes aren’t cheap this day and age, when your losing weight the thrift store is your friend. Went from a 20 to 16 in like 5 months.

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