The shopping lists get longer and the "required" electronics get more sophisticated and the average family with children in grades K-12 will need to allocate a bigger budget for back-to-school this year. Adding up the clothing, shoes, supplies and electronics, a typical family will spend $669.28, up 5% from last year, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).
Overall spending will drop slightly to $26.5 billion, but that's only because there are slightly fewer school-aged children in the general population this year. Count college-aged students, and back-to-school spending will top nearly $75 billion.
Technology is getting to be a big pain in the pocketbook. The NRF says shoppers will spend an average of $212.35 on electronic items, up 7% from last year, accounting for $8.4 billion in total spending.
What began as a one-page list is now a website crammed with classroom supply requests, as school districts deal with tighter budgets. Spending on school supplies are expected to increase a whopping 12% over 2013.
Teenagers alone account for $913 million of back-to-school shopping, spending their own money -- but they also guide their parents' buying decisions, too. More than one-third (34.8%) of parents admit that at least half of their back-to-school purchases are influenced by their children.
Young parents, aged 25 to 34 years old, are the highest spending age group shelling out an average of $822.01 for back-to-school supplies. Saving money is still a high priority, and shoppers surveyed revealed how they plan on cutting back:
- Buying store brand/generic items for school (34% vs. 32.8% last year)
- Make do with last year's items (25.6% up from 23.7% last year)
- Shop online more often to save money (19.6% up from 18.5% last year and the highest percentage to date)
The big-dollar spending comes from families with college-aged children. The typical college student and their family will spend $916.48 on dorm furniture, school supplies, electronics and more -- up 10% from last year.