Customers buy back-to-school items at a Target store in Colma, California.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Parents may not know if their children will be sitting in a classroom or at the dining table when classes resume later this year, but after many schools were closed by the coronavirus pandemic in the spring, they look back at The School Supplies a little different this year.
The result: Expenditures are expected to reach a record this year, as the parents stock up on expensive technology.
Parents from children in elementary through high school plan to spend an average of $ 789.49 per family, surpassing an earlier record of $ 696.70, according to the National Retail Federation's annual survey. From July 1 to 8, 7,481 consumers were surveyed. Total school-leaving expenses are expected to reach $ 33.9 billion, after $ 26.2 billion in 2019 and a record $ 30.3 billion in 2012, the survey said.
Meanwhile, student spending is expected to be $ 1,059.20 per family, which would exceed last year's $ 976.78 record. The NRF forecasts a total of $ 67.7 billion in back-to-college spending, which would break the 2018 record.
"In any case, this is an unprecedented year of great uncertainty, including the way students get their education in the fall, whether they're in kindergarten or college," said NRF CEO Matt Shay in a statement. He said parents overcome insecurity by ensuring that students are prepared with the right tools when learning online is forced.
Fifty-five percent of consumers surveyed by NRF said they will attend "at least some" courses at home in the fall. And of those who expect to be at home, 72% plan to buy electronics such as laptops and furnishings such as desks – items that are considered non-traditional school supplies.
Overall, 63% of the K-12 families plan to buy computers and other electronics this year, up from 54% in 2019. For college students, 60% plan to buy electronics, compared to 53% a year ago.
As more parents plan to shop online in this early school season, stationary destinations such as department stores and clothing stores could suffer. According to the NRF, only 37% of parents plan to go to department stores, compared to 53% a year ago. And only 30% plan to visit clothing stores, compared to 45% in 2019.
A Deloitte survey published earlier this month found that 66% of parents are afraid of sending their children back to the classroom in the fall due to the Covid 19 pandemic.
Fear has its origins in different places: some parents are worried that their children will fall behind academically. There are also health and safety concerns and concerns about finances. 38 percent of people said they had "big financial concerns" about the upcoming school season, said Deloitte. The US unemployment rate is currently 11.1%, with millions of people unemployed.
Read the complete survey on the start of school at NRF here.