Back to School Spending

One in five parents have set aside a portion of their stimulus check for back-to-school purchases, according to the National Retail Federation’sBack  to School Kids with Backpacks 2008 Back to School Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey. The average Midwest family with school-aged children will spend $517.03 on back-to-school purchases this year, according to the survey.

Nationally, the combined average forecasted spending was $594.24, higher than the 2007 average of $563.49. Nationwide, total back-to-school spending for Kindergarten through 12th grade is estimated to reach $20.1 billion.

Midwest total combined spending for 2008 back-to-school purchases was slightly lower than the national combined average at $517.03. By types of back-to-school items, Midwest parents expect to spend the most on clothing and accessories (41%), followed by electronics (24%), shoes (18%), and school supplies (17%).


Midwest Back to School Spending Pie Chart

According to the survey, most Midwest parents are likely to start back-to-school shopping 3 to 4 weeks prior to the beginning of the school year. Many Missouri parents may have started shopping the weekend of August 1 through August 3, 2008 to take advantage of the state’s annual sales tax holiday on many types of back-to-school supplies.

A large majority of consumers nationwide planned to head to discount stores (73.0%) for back to school purchases this year, trying to stretch their dollar as far as possible. Others will head to department stores (56.6%), clothing stores (47.8%), electronic stores (21.4%), office supply stores (41.8%) and drug stores (18.2%). As comparison shopping becomes more popular among consumers looking for the best deals and gas prices continue to rise, 24.8 percent of back-to-school shoppers will buy online, compared to 21.4 percent last year.

Sources: National Retail Federation, BIGresearch

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