Back to School Spending 2019: By the Numbers

’Tis the (other) season.  As students start back to school and college, families are spending more than ever on school supplies.  “Consumers are in a strong position given the nation’s growing economy,” said National Retail Federation president and CEO Matthew Shay. “We see this reflected in what they say they will spend on back-to-class items this year.”

This year, consumers are expected to spend $696.70, up from $684.79 last year and topping the previous record of $688.62 set in 2012.  School supplies range from school gear, supplies, electronics, and dorm essentials.

Here are some additional findings about 2019 back to school spending:

  • About 54% of shoppers have completed about half of their school shopping so far. 
  • 39% of people back to school shopping, do not know what supplies they need. 
  • While 36% are still waiting for the best deals. 
  • Most families plan to shop at a department store rather than online or an office supply store.  
  • This year over 51% of school purchases have been influenced by sales. 
  • Back to school shopping is expected to reach $80.7 billion for both K-12 and college students.  This is down from last year’s $82.8 billion
  • Families with college students on average will spend $976.78, topping last year’s $942.17.  
  • Clothing will reach $239.82 and electronics will reach $203.44. Supplies such as pencils and notebooks will reach $117.49.  
  • On average, teens this year are expected to spend at least $36.71 of their own money.  Preteens will spend $26.40.
  • College students are expected to spend the most on electronics, $234.69.  They are also expected to spend $120.19 on dorm furnishings. 
  •  90% of K-12 and 85% of college shoppers plan to take advantage of free shipping. 
  • Most people go to Walmart and Target over an office supply store.  
  • 44% of people say they shop at Target while 51.1% say they chose Walmart because of their low prices.

By Arianna Novoa

Source: NRF