Back-to-school spending expected to rank among highest years on record

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Thursday, August 9, 2018
Back-to-school spending on the rise
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The National Retail Federation estimates that back-to-school spending will reach about $83 million this year.

This back-to-school shopping season is shaping up to be one of the most expensive on record.

The National Retail Federation predicts spending will reach about $82.8 billion this year, just slightly lower than last year.

That includes $687.72 per family with students elementary through high school. About half of that is for clothing and shoes, about a third for electronics and the rest for traditional supplies like notebooks, pencils and backpacks.

A small portion of that spending comes from teenagers and pre-teens' own money. This is possibly due to parents asking kids to contribute after picking out certain items themselves, an industry analyst told the NRF.

"One trend that we continue to see during the back-to-school season is the strong influence children have on their parents' spending decisions," Prosper Insights Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist said. "This shouldn't come as a surprise when social media tools such as Pinterest and Instagram have allowed Gen Zers to be more selective in the items they want."

As for the college shopping season, the total spending is expected to reach a record level. Average spending will be more than $942.17 for families with undergraduate and graduate students. This includes spending by the students themselves.

The biggest expense for those students will be electronics, followed by clothing and furnishings.