Back-to-school season is here, and parents everywhere are shopping for school supplies, new clothes, electronics, and all the other items necessary to kick off the season.

Has school started in your area of the country? My kids don’t start school until after Labor Day, but in other parts of the country students are already back in the classroom. It’s always bittersweet; it’s fun spending more time with the kids during the summer and I’m always a little sad when school starts. At the same time, though, it’s nice to get the entire family back into a routine!

Spending on Supplies

School supply lists seem to get longer and longer every year, going beyond the traditional pencils and notebooks to include things like disinfecting wipes, dry-erase markers, index cards, and other communal classroom supplies.

The National Retail Federation predicts this could be the most expensive back-to-school season ever. They estimate spending could top $135 billion this year! Not all experts agree with this, however, with others predicting a decline from last year due to inflation. Many parents are also spreading out their purchases or reusing supplies from previous years to save money. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, school supply prices have increased 24% over the past two years.

Are new clothes part of your back-to-school shopping list? I always loved picking out a new outfit for the first day of school. According to research from Circana, more than 80% of back-to-school apparel purchases are made in July and August, and this trend has been steady for three decades. However, their research indicates that the volume of clothing purchased during this time has decreased as parents prioritize other school supplies in order to manage their budgets.

Back-to-School Season Spending Stats

Here are some interesting back-to-school statistics from Capital One. How does your household compare?

  • For one child, back-to-school supplies cost $597 (K-12 average).
  • From 2019 to 2023, spending per child increased 15%; after adjusting for inflation, spending per child decreased 3.43%. 
  • 41% of shoppers plan to evenly split their back-to-school spending between online and in-store purchases.
  • Homeschooling parents spend 15% less than the average household on back-to-school shopping.
  • 39% of shoppers report trimming their budgets in other areas in order to afford higher costs for back-to-class.

Panel Member Reminders

Whether you have a student in school or not, you may be buying school or office-related supplies during back-to-school season to take advantage of sales and discounts. Maybe you’re restocking your home office, or replenishing your home’s supply of pens, envelopes, or other items. Be sure to report these purchases to NCP!

Not a panel member? Join here and start earning rewards for providing info about your purchases today!


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