2017 Back to School Spending

Posted on Jul 26, 2017 · 3 min read

Although it feels like summer just started, it’s already time to start thinking about all the back to school shopping – and we’re already getting excited to see the results of this year. With a more stable economy, many families are feeling more confident about their finances, have stronger employment, and have seen an increase in wages. Due to this, it is predicted that we will see some of the highest back to school spending since 2012.  

Recently the NRF conducted their annual Back to School survey, and as always we’re fascinated by the results. Here’s an overview of what they found:

K-12 Spending:

  • Total spending is projected to reach $83.6 billion – more than a 10% increase from last year’s $75.8 billion
  • Families with children plan to spend an average of $687.72, for a total of $29.5 billion which is an 8% increase from last year’s $27.3 billion
  • $10.2 billion will be spent on clothing
  • $8.8 billion will be spent on electronics
  • $5.6 billion will be spent on shoes
  • $4.9 billion will be spent on school supplies
  • 45% said they would buy a laptop computer, while 35% said they would buy a tablet

One of the most interesting findings from this survey was that 65% of back to school shoppers say half or more of their purchase are a direct result of their children’s influence, which is up from 57% last year. Not only is the influence of children growing, but they are also becoming more willing to help their parents pay for the items purchase. It is predicted that teenagers will contribute $37.64 and pre-teens will contribute $27.09. This shows how crucial is it for retailers to connect  with students of all ages.

College Spending:

College student spending is expected to reach $54.1 billion which is up from $48.5 billion last year. The increase in spending is in part due to the growing numbers of college enrollment. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the college enrollment has steadily increased over the last five years and is projected to reach nearly 21 million this fall.

Here’s the breakdown of how college students are planning to spend their money for back to school:

  • $12.8 billion on electronics
  • $8 billion on clothing
  • $7.5 billion on snacks and food
  • $5.9 billion on personal care items
  • $3.9 billion on school supplies
  • $3.9 billion on gift cards
  • $3.2 billion on college branded gear

The survey also gained insight into where students will be shopping:

  • 44% online
  • 40% discount stores
  • 39% department stores
  • 34% college book stores
  • 29% office supply stores

As you can see, the student market is one all retailers and brands should be looking to target not only during the back to school season, but also all year round. If you’re looking for a new way to drive interest and loyalty of students of all ages, contact SheerID today.

Also, our annual teacher spending survey in partnership with Agile Education Marketing is in the works. Make sure to keep an eye out for the always interesting preferences of hundreds of teachers that could impact how you connect with them.

Madeline Boehmer by Madeline Boehmer