Back-to-school spending at all-time highs
The National Retail Federation expects record back-to-school spending this year, with clothing and electronics the top two ticket items on family's lists.
NRF number-cruncher Mark Mathews says the strong economy is a major factor in the increase, with low unemployment and inflation.
"The consumer is in great shape and they're spending which is great news for retailers," said Mathews, president of research, development and industry.
Families with elementary school kids will spend an average close to $700. College families will average almost $977 this year.
Clothing is the biggest spending item, but Mathews says electronics are a close second.
"You know one of the more interesting findings that we've seen is that teens and preteens will be spending $63 per household of their own money on these things. That's about 50% higher than than where we were 10 years ago. I think part of that is teens and preteens are more entrepreneurial. They like to earn money they like to spend their own money," he said.
For online shopping, the survey shows 90% of K-12, and 85% of college shoppers plan to take advantage of free shipping.
Although per-household back-to-school spending is up, total spending is down because families say they have fewer children in grades k-12. Spending is expected to total $26.2 billion, down from last year's $27.5 billion.