Retailers Look to Boost Early Back to School Sales
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By Dominique Bonessi,
The Fiscal Times
July 29, 2013

It’s not your imagination-- back-to-school sales, second only to Christmas in terms of consumer spending, really are starting earlier. Retailers began marketing their school-related products well before the Fourth of July partly because retail sales are expected to fall 8 percent this year.
Three in 10 of consumers surveyed by the International Council of Shopping Centers last week said they were getting an early start for back-to-school items.


But don’t worry if you’re among the 2/3 of shoppers that haven’t started stocking up yet. “Retailers want consumers to buy early and often,” Matthew Ong, senior retail analyst at NerdWallet, said in a release. “Just as Black Friday was pushed earlier into Thanksgiving in 2012 than ever before, retailers are pushing the back-to-school season forward to try and encourage you to spend more money. Don’t give in – the deals will be the same or even better in August.”

Here’s a look at how back-to-school shopping will add up this year.

7.3 percent
Projected year-over-year increase in the cost of school supplies.

Amount the average American family with school age children expects to spend on back-to-school supplies this year, down from last year’s $689.

Average projected amount spent per family on college supplies, down from last year’s $907.

$26.7 billion
Expected total back-to-school spending this year K-12.

$72.5 Billion
Back-to-school and back-to-college combined total spending.

Percentage of college students who will be living on campus, down from 25.9 percent last year.

The price consumers are willing to spend on a new smartphone or tablet; down from $218 last year.

Percentage of shoppers who will start back-to-school shopping a month before classes begin.

Percentage of shoppers who will hold out until September before they begin back-to-school shopping

Percentage of shoppers with school-aged children who say the economy will affect their spending this year, down from 84.8 percent last year.

Number of states that offer a sales tax holiday for back-to-school shopping. (Find details on individual states here.)

Sources: National Retail Federation, Huntington Bank, CCH, PriceGrabber