Analysts are optimistic about the back-to-school shopping season

Jennifer Shanker
Production Assistant

As the summer months come to an end and students are gearing up for the school year, retailers are readying themselves for back-to-school shopping.

Analysts seem to be optimistic about the shopping season. Deloitte is out with its Annual Back-to-School survey, predicting spending to reach upwards of $27 billion.

Similarly, the National Retail Federation is also out with its annual survey and is expecting spending to total $26 billion. Despite the NRF’s lower expectations compared with last year, Mark Mathews, vice president of research development and industry analysis at the National Retail Federation, is confident that retailers will earn big this season.

“Consumers told us they'd be spending about $1,674 each for both back to school and back to college. That's up almost 3% over last year – so quite positive for us,“ he said.

SCARBOROUGH, ME - AUGUST 20: Sarah Patten of Portland, a student at USM, shops for back to school items for herself and a seven-year-old she nannies for at Walmart in Scarborough. (Photo by Gordon Chibroski/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)

Families with children in elementary school through high school plan to spend an average $696.70, up from $684.79 last year, according to the NRF. And families with college students are expected to spend an average $976.78, up from last year’s $942.17.

According to the NRF survey, clothing and accessories will top K-12 families’ expenses at an average $239.82, followed by electronics such as computers, calculators and phones.

The undeniable rise in e-commerce in recent years hasn’t been making quite as much of an impact when it comes to back-to-school shopping. K-12 students still look to the big department stores when buying supplies. “Your Walmarts (WMT), Targets (TGT), those are the stores that about 88% of [survey] respondents said that they would shop there. So they clearly seem to be the big winner coming out of the back-to-school season,” said Rodney Sides, Deloitte’s leader of U.S. retail and distribution.

Deloitte’s survey found that over 60% of parents begin back-to-college shopping before August.

Generational divide in back-to-school spending

Back-to-school shopping has typically been parents’ responsibility, but the NRF survey indicates a shift, with students contributing more. “We see that Gen Z are more entrepreneurial. They like to spend their own money. And we’ve had a strong economic period over the last five to 10 years. Maybe there’s a little bit more pocket money there,” said Mathews.

Jennifer is a Production Assistant for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @shankerjennifer

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