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.
Read more

More consumer trends

Retail jobs grew 37,600 year-over-year in December
 
Retail jobs grew 15,200 monthly and 37,600 year-over-year in December.
Read more
3 ways consumers are continuing to shop after the holidays
 
It’s still the most wonderful time of the year.
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Procrastinators rush to meet holiday deadline
 
Procrastinating shoppers rush to meet holiday deadline
Read more
Last-minute holiday shopping
 
Episode 94 of Retail Gets Real: Who's still shopping and when.
Read more
‘Tis the giving season
 
Episode 92 of Retail Gets Real: How people are giving back to the community this holiday season.
Read more
Gift trends for the holidays
 
Episode 90 of Retail Gets Real: Discover the most popular gifts purchased over Thanksgiving weekend.
Read more