Back to School Spending to Rise 7%

By Jul 30, 2007

On average, consumers expect to spend $590 for back-to-school clothing and supplies, according to a new survey by Brand Keys. (www.brandkeys.com), a New York City-based brand and customer loyalty research consultancy.

“With estimated spending up 7%, it appears that spending is going to approach $18 billion dollars during this year’s back-to-school season,” says Robert Passikoff, president, Brand Keys.

High gas prices are having their effects, though. “For the consumer the traditional three Rs are now ‘retailer,’ ‘rates,’ and ‘requirements.’ Which retailer is offering the best prices for the things they need most is how consumers are looking at the back-to-school marketplace,” says Passikoff.

The survey includes assessments from 7,500 households with school-aged children, drawn from the nine US Census regions, and found average-spends for the following back-to-school categories:

Clothing $265.00 (up 2% over last year)
Computers $230.00 (+10%)
Shoes (athletic& dress) $115.00 (+15%)
Supplies $100.00 (+5%)
Books $ 25.00 (+14%)

“Unlike other major purchase events like Mother’s and Father’s Days there’s an uneven distribution in terms of which retailers will be the beneficiaries of consumers shopping this season,” says Passikoff.

The breakdown of “preferred” retailer-types showed some differences over last year:

Discount Stores 70% (-7% over last year)
Department Stores 60% (+20%)
Office Supply 45% (-0%)
Specialty Outlets 40% (-0%)

“Online (35%, +40%) and Catalogs (15%, +15%) are showing up considerably higher as retail distribution outlets than other seasonal sales events,” notes Passikoff. “We believe that’s where higher gas prices are having their biggest effects.”