Families spending big bucks on back to school shopping

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) – Amanda Mathisen and her daughter Danielle finished up their back to school shopping at Target in Warwick.

“All in store,” Mathisen said. “We like to do the whole experience. It’s fun for her!”

Nadeem Chaudry was also at the store stocking up on school supplies, though some of his back to school purchases are going to happen online.

“I’m ordering a backpack actually, and I also need a new lunchbox, so I’m getting a lot of stuff this year,” Chaudry said.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts back to school spending will reach nearly $83 billion this year. The average family is expected to shell out $684.

“For K-12, those families still opt to shop in a store,” explained Kristen Regine, a retail and marketing professor at Johnson & Wales University. “They still want that in-store experience, and they want the traditional types of coupons and sales promotions that you find in stores.”

Though elementary through high school students are shopping in stores, Regine said college students would prefer to shop online.

“[Amazon] Prime really did create a game changer for the back to school category because now instead of it being July and August, this really stretched it out for the summertime months, so it’s already on our minds by the end of June,” Regine said.  

On average, college students are expected to spend $942 dollars this year on their back to school gear, according to the NRF.

Data also shows parents will spend the most on clothing followed by electronics, shoes and general supplies like notebooks, pencils, and backpacks.

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