The National Retail Federation (NRF) estimates back to school and back to college spending to reach $75.8 billion this year. The NRF calculates this total from the results of their annual Back-to-School and Back-to-College surveys, which they have been conducting since 2003.

“With back-to-school spending on a ‘stock up’ cycle rather than a ‘make do’ cycle, the average family is expected to spend more freely on school and college supplies this year, according to NRF’s annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics. Total spending for K-12 and college is expected to reach $75.8 billion, up from last year’s $68 billion,” reports NRF.

Survey Highlights

Families with children in grades K-12 plan to spend an average $673.57 on apparel and accessories, electronics, shoes and school supplies, up from last year’s $630.36 for a total of $27.3 billion, according to the survey. That’s an increase of 9.6 percent from last year’s $24.9 billion and compares with a total growth of 54.8 percent over the past 10 years.

College students and families with children in college plan to spend an average of $888.71, according to the survey. That’s down slightly from $899.18 last year, but total spending is expected to be up at $48.5 billion compared with $43.1 billion last year due to an increase of consumers shopping for back-to-college.

Consumer confidence in the economy continues to grow and is a significant factor in how families will spend for back-to-school this year. A few more families are shopping for sales (43 percent, up from 41 percent) or comparing prices online (32 percent, up from 31 percent).

Swagbucks, an online rewards program, also conducted a survey, asking parents all kinds of questions, like how much they plan to spend, what their back-to-school stressors are and more. Here’s an infograph of their results.

back to school by the numbers


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Andrea has always loved the written word. She holds a B.A. in Journalism and a Masters in Creative Writing, both from Belmont University. Both sides of her family have lived in Williamson County for generations, so writing for Williamson Source is the perfect fit. She loves to hear stories of what Williamson County was like when her parents and grandparents were young and to write about this ever evolving county is truly special for her.