SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Special Report

July 27, 2012

Back-to-school spending grows as parents restock, replenish

WASHINGTON — With more children entering elementary and middle school this fall and after cutting back their spending last year, parents with growing kids will hit the stores to replace and replenish what their children might have had to “make-do” with last school season.

According to National Retail Federation’s (NRF) 2012 Back-to-School spending survey conducted by BIGinsight, the average person with children in grades K-12 will spend $688.62 on their kids, compared with $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.”

How it's spent

Not surprising, parents will spend the most on clothing, accessories and electronics. 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%) 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.

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