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Many Families Prioritizing Back-to-School Spending

Tuesday, August 16th, 2022 -- 1:01 PM

(WMTV) With the school year fast approaching, many families are prioritizing back-to-school spending.

According to a report from the National Retail Federation, one-third of consumers are cutting back on spending in other areas to cover back-to-school shopping costs. Katherine Cullen, the Senior Director of Industry and Consumer Insights for the National Retail Federation, says this shows school supplies are an essential category for families.

“They will do what it takes to make sure students have what they need for the start of classes,” said Cullen. NRF reports the total back-to-school spending is expected to match 2021′s record high of $37 billion.

Compared to 2019, back-to-school shoppers are expected to spend $168 more on average. Cullen said spending has increased dramatically since the onset of the pandemic.

“While some of that can be attributed to inflation or higher prices, we are seeing real shifts in terms of how people spend because of changes and the pandemic,” said Cullen. “Whether that’s stocking up on electronics and furniture for hybrid or virtual learning or buying new clothes and shoes as people head back to classes in person.”

Shoppers are also hitting the ground running earlier than ever before. According to the NRF survey, 56% of consumers started shopping by early July. “This continues a trend that we’ve really seen take off, particularly since the pandemic where consumers are approaching major spending events and holidays like the winter holidays or back to school and wanting to start earlier than ever,” said Cullen. “They do this because they want to spread out their budgets and give themselves time to shop for sales and deals.”

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