Electronics Necessities for Back-To-School Kids

Electronics Necessities for Back-To-School Kids

According to the National Retail Federation's 2007 Consumer Intentions and Actions Back-to-School survey, conducted by BIGresearch, families with school-age children are expected to spend $563.49 on back-to-school merchandise, up 6.9 percent from last year's $527.08 average. Total back-to-school spending this year is expected to reach $18.4 billion.

The biggest increase in sales this year, according to the survey, is families spending 13.0 percent more on electronics than last year ($129.24 vs. $114.38). Footwear will also see a higher-than-average sales increase, with sales expected to rise 10.3 percent over last year ($108.42 vs. $98.34). Families are also expected to spend $94.02 on school supplies, up from $86.22 a year ago.

NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin, says "Electronics have evolved from luxuries to necessities, not only for college students but also for their younger siblings... parents are investing in desktop or laptop computers, educational software and printers to support their children's learning." 

Consistent with previous years:

  • 45.2 percent of consumers plan to begin their shopping three weeks to one month before school starts
  • 32 percent will begin one to two weeks before
  • 14.6 percent will begin at least two months before the start of school
  • 5.4 percent will wait until the week before school begins
  • 2.7 percent will procrastinate until after school starts to do their shopping

Spending for clothing and accessories is expected to be flat this year, with consumers spending an average of $231.80 on those purchases, similar to last year's $228.14. Clothing and accessories, though, remains the largest spending category at $7.6 billion.

The percentage of parents who plan to purchase merchandise online this year is expected to rise 40.8 percent, from 15.2 percent last year to 21.4 percent this year. Young parents between the ages of 18-34 are the most likely to shop online for children's merchandise, with nearly one-third of them planning to use the web to find back-to-school items.

Fewer consumers plan to shop at mass merchants this year, with 67.6 percent of parents planning to shop at discount stores compared with 72.2 percent last year. All other categories are expected to see traffic increase, as consumers will be shopping more at:

  • Office supplies stores (41.4% vs. 35.8% last year)
  • Drug stores (17.9% vs. 16.3%)
  • Department stores (54.9% vs. 53.3%)
  • Specialty stores (31.6% vs. 30.9%) 

The study also finds that pre-teens will chip in approximately $15.38 of their own money for back-to-school items while teenagers will spend, on average, $31.19 of their own money. And nearly two-thirds of parents say their children influence at least half of the items that are purchased for back-to-school. 

Phil Rist, Vice President of Strategy for BIGresearch, concludes that "Pre-teens and teenagers have a tremendous impact on their family's spending decisions... From backpacks to boots, parents often let their children choose which specific items to purchase, so retailers will be marketing as much to kids as to their parents this year." 

For the complete study release, please visit the NRF here.

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