Consumers Set to Spend $40 More This Year on Back to School Shopping

2019 Back to School Statistics

There are several shopping days on the calendar businesses should be aware of. While Black Friday and the holiday season are a no brainer, back to school should also be on that list.

2019 Back to School Statistics

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), total spending on K-12 schools and college is projected at $80.7B in 2019. The data from the NRF collaborates a new infographic from RetailMeNot which says consumers will spend $40 more this year.

Overall parents will spend an average of $507 in 2019, compared to $465 in 2018. And they will spend more across the board for clothes, electronics, and shoes.

Not surprisingly price is the biggest determining factor when parents purchase an item for back-to-school. This was the case for 69% of the respondents from the RetailMeNot survey. And an almost equal number or 71% say they will wait to make a purchase until they find a deal.

Parents are going to spend $212 on clothes, $209 on electronics and $104 on shoes. This doesn’t include incidentals throughout the year which are also part of the school expense. And all of this expenditure is stressing parents.

The survey says 48% of parents are stressed about how much they have to spend, an 8% increase from last year. And moms feel financial stress (54%) more than dads (41%). This might explain why 50% of parents say they spend some of their back-to-school budget on themselves. After all, shopping is a stress reliever.

The NRF is Expecting Record Spending in 2019

The NRF has been conducting an annual back-to-school survey since 2003. The survey covers k-12 and college students across the country. This year’s survey was carried out from July 1-8, 2019 with the participation of 7,660 consumers.

For K-12 students, the NRF says families will spend an average of $696.70, which is up from the $684.79 of 2018. But overall spending is going to go down because the survey says there are fewer families with kids in K-12. This is going to bring down the total to $26.2B, which is down $1.3B from the $27.5 billion of 2018.

When it comes to college students, it is following the same trend. The average spend is going to be higher, but overall spend lower.

This year college students are spending an average of $976.78 compared to $942.17 in 2018. And overall it is going down from the record $55.3B of 2018 to $54.5 in 2019.

Small Businesses and Back-to-School Sales

With billions of dollars up for grabs, small businesses have to make a concerted effort to participate in this event. Just like the more popular sale days throughout the year, back-to-school sales also need to be planned.

Here are some tips for making back-to-school a more profitable day for your business.

Start your marketing early and make sure to integrate physical and digital commerce together. Tell your customers about the sale early through your website, social media, and other channels.

Your site has to be easy to navigate. Along with an efficient checkout process, include easy access to information about shipping charges, return policies, sales tax and more.

At the same time make in-store pick up from an online purchase a seamless process. If they have to wait a long time to pick up their item, it defeats the purpose.

Make sure your store is stocked properly to meet the demand. If a customer can’t get an item you have for sale on your site or store, it might be the last time you see them.

Last but not least provide good deals. This is going to drive parents to your store, so make sure you have some price busters to get them in the door.

More 2019 Back to School Statistics

Take a look at the infographic.

2019 Back to School Statistics



Michael Guta Michael Guta is the Assistant Editor at Small Business Trends and currently manages its East African editorial team. Michael brings with him many years of content experience in the digital ecosystem covering a wide range of industries. He holds a B.S. in Information Communication Technology, with an emphasis in Technology Management.

2 Reactions
  1. $200 on electronics? Is this including college students? Because I just don’t see how you spend that kind of money in K-12.

  2. This means that the spending power is higher. This is good even for small business owners as well.