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Back-to-School Is 2nd-Biggest Consumer Spending Event of the Year
Jul 23, 2012
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Combined K-12 and college back-to-school spending will reach $83.8 billion in 2012, making it second only to the winter holidays as the biggest consumer spending event of the year, according to the National Retail Federation Back-to-School spending survey conducted by BIGinsight.

K-12 Back-to-School Spending
The average person with children in grades K-12 will spend $688.62 on their children, up from $603.63 in 2011. Total spending is expected to reach $30.3 billion. NRF said more kids are starting elementary school in 2012, and parents who cut back on back-to-school spending in 2011 are going shopping to replace items that kids had to "make do" with in 2011.

Parents estimate they'll spend an average of $217.88 on electronics. Nearly six in 10 - 59.6% - will buy some sort of electronic device, up from 51.9% who planned to do so last year.

Back-to-College Spending
NRF's 2012 Back-to-College Survey, also conducted by BIGinsight, found college students and their families will spend an average of $907.22 - up from $808.71 in 2011. Total back-to-college spending is expected to be $53.5 billion.

But the survey also shows 83.5% of back-to-college shoppers' spending plans are being impacted by the economy. More are comparative shopping online (34.6% in 2012, up from 30.7% in 2011) and shopping online (20.5% in 2012, from 18.8% in 2011.) More parents will also ask their college kids to make-do with last year's items (31.2%, up from 29.7%).

Home furnishing stores, where college students often shop for small appliances and bed/bath sets, will see a jump in traffic this year, the survey said: 16.4% of back-to-college shoppers will shop at a home furnishings or home decor store, up from 11.2% in 2011. Shoppers will also head for:

* discount stores: 51.9%
* department stores: 45.4%
* drug stores: 22.3%
* office supplies stores: 40.3%
* clothing stores: 34.8%
* electronics stores: 21.1%
* thrift stores: 15.0%

Electronics purchases are planned by 54.0% of college choppers, up from 45.8% in 2011. The average back-to-college shopper will spend $216.40 on electronics.

Back-to-college shoppers will also spend an average of $100.27 on dorm furnishings.

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