Back to School

Box of crayons at school for kids

Back-to-School 2018

NRF has been conducting its annual Back-to-School and Back-to-College surveys since 2003 to see how American families will shop for clothing, supplies and other items for the next school year.

Back-to-school and college spending to reach $82.8B

July consumer survey: Many parents and college students said they were waiting for the best deals to complete their shopping lists. Total spending for K-12 schools and college combined is projected to reach $82.8 billion, nearly as high as last year’s $83.6 billion.

 
close up shot of school supplies
 
Back-to-class by the numbers
  • Shoppers spend more on back-to-school and back-to-college than consumers spend on Mother's Day, Father's Day and Valentine's Day combined.
     
  • Back to college drives the majority of spending - an expected $55.3 billion.
     
  • Men spend $115 more on average than women on back-to-college.
How Gen Z shapes back-to-class shopping

Back-to-college spending is expected to reach $55 billion this year, and many of those shopping for themselves are members of Generation Z. Learn how this first generation to grow up with the internet and smartphones is shaping the retail landscape on NRF's podcast Retail Gets Real.

 
Two gen z women hanging out at an arcade on their phones
 

More on back-to-school

Back-to-Class shopping continues as school begins
 
A stack of books and an apple
Consumers had completed just over half their shopping as students head back to class this month.
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Back-to-school spotlight: Hispanic shoppers
 
girl standing outside with a backpack and school books in her hands
One in four kids belong to Hispanic families in the U.S.
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3 ways events like Prime Day are changing the back-to-school calendar
 
Group of people point and look over a laptop
The way customers approach shopping for the season has changed in recent years.
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More consumer trends

3 ways Mother’s Day gift shopping has evolved
 
Flowers are never out of style, but consumers are celebrating mom in more unique ways.
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Mother’s Day expected to deliver highest consumer spending to date
 
Mother’s Day spending hits record high at $25 billion in 2019, up from $23.1 billion in 2018.
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3 ways younger consumers are embracing Easter
 
Three ways consumers under 35 have evolved their Easter celebrations.
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2018 holiday sales grew 2.9 percent amid turmoil over trade policy and delay in data collection
 
Holiday retail sales in 2018 grew 2.9 percent to $707.5 billion.
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Is love still in the air?
 
Three ways consumers’ attitudes toward Valentines’ Day are changing.
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Fewer consumers celebrating Valentine’s Day but those who do are spending more
 
Americans are expected to spend a record amount this year.
Read more