Even as Americans build sandcastles and ride roller coasters during their summer vacations, the parents of school-age children also are beginning to think about back-to-school shopping. Retailers should rejoice at this news because parents say they will spend more this year than last year as they prepare their kids to return to the classroom.
The average back-to-school shopper will spend $527.08 in getting Dick and Jane ready for school, up from $443.77 last year, according to the National Retail Federation´s 2006 "Back-to-School Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey." Total spending will hit $17.6 billion, up from $13.4 billion last year.
That´s a lot of No. 2 pencils and lunch boxes. And, indeed, spending will increase in all categories, but electronic and clothing purchases will drive this year´s back-to-school spending spree.
When can you expect to see back-to-school buyers in your store? One in six parents, or 16.5 percent, plan to begin shopping at least two months before school starts. Nearly half, 41.9 percent, will hit the stores three weeks to a month before the first bell rings to start the 2006 school year. And one-in-three, or 32.5 percent, plan to wait until a week or two before school starts.
Tomorrow in Retail Strategies, we´ll take a closer look at what, exactly, parents plan to buy, and we´ll review spending predictions for various regions of the country. The National Retail Federation survey was conducted by BIGresearch.