NRF: Back-to-School/College Spending to Total $83.6 Billion


The latest annual survey from the National Retail Federation (NRF) reports that total spending for back-to-school and back-to-college shopping this year will reach $83.6 billion—a year-over-year (YOY) increase of 10 percent. Conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics, the survey polled 7,226 consumers.

Families with elementary through high school students expect to spend an average of $687.72 for a total of $29.5 billion—an 8-percent leap YOY. The forecasted spending is the second-highest estimate since 2012’s $30.3 billion. $10.2 billion will go toward clothing, while $8.8 billion will be spent on electronics, and $5.6 billion will be spent on shoes. School supplies will account for $4.9 billion of the total.

Families with students returning to college anticipate spending an average of $969.88, up from last year’s $888.71. Total spending is expected to clock in at $54.1 billion, a significant jump from 2016’s $48.5 billion. Back-to-college shoppers will spend $12.8 billion on electronics; $8 billion on clothes; $7.5 billion on snacks and food; and $5.9 billion on dorm/apartment furnishings.

“Families are now in a state of mind where they feel a lot more confident about the economy,” says Matthew Shay, NRF President and CEO. “With stronger employment levels and a continued increase in wages, consumers are spending more and we are optimistic that they will continue to do so throughout the rest of the year. As students head back to the classroom, retailers are prepared to meet their needs whether it’s for pencils and paper, shirts and pants or laptops and tablets.”

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