Americans are Spending HOW MUCH On Back-To-School?

By Kerri Winick, staff

Students, break out your school supply list. Parents…start your engines! Back to school shopping is right around the bend! From backpacks to binders, loading up on classroom gear can add up fast.

Ready to get schooled with some serious shopping stats? The National Retail Federation has just released its annual Back To School survey. This year, the average American family (with children in grades K-12 ) will spend $606.40 on clothes, shoes, supplies and electronics. That's up from $548.72 in 2009.


Back to school shopping was always an exciting time for me and my three sisters. We frantically raced through store aisles, grabbing college-ruled notebooks and BIC pens like they were going out of style. (Like, everyone knows the selection is slim by mid-August! ) This year, nearly half (47.6%) of families will begin their shopping three weeks to one month before school starts and one-quarter (24.8%) will start one to two weeks before the first bell rings. More than 20% are early birds, shopping two months before school begins. Three percent (3.0%) will wait until school starts...or later. (Slackers!)

Also read: Where Americans are shopping for back-to-school deals.

What are Americans dishing out dollars for? The average family will spend $96.39 on traditional school supplies. Students are also buzzing about high-tech gear. The average family will spend just over $180 on electronics and computer-related school needs…things like smart phones, laptops and MP3 players.


Of course, there's the all important "first day of school" outfit! This year, filling the closet will take up the majority of consumers' budgets. The average family of school-aged kids is expected to spend $225.47 on jeans, shirts and other types of clothing. Families will also spend an average of $102.93 on shoes.

This season is all about smart school spending. The NRF found that 44.3% percent of Americans will buy more store brand or generic products, compared to 41.7% last year. More 'rents will also compare prices online (30.3% vs. 26.4% in 2009.)

Also read: Lunchbox Lessons: Healthy, delicious options for kids

And here's some gossip for parents: The survey found that teenagers and pre-teens will spend more of their own dollars for apparel, supplies and accessories.

Overall, K-12 and college spending combined will reach a whopping $55.12 billion. That makes back to school shopping the second largest event for retailers…right behind the winter holidays. You learn something new every day!

How much will back-to-school cost you? How do you save?

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