Thursday, July 15, 2010

"Cautiously Optimistic" NRF: Back-To-School Spending to Increase 10%

In welcome news to the shipping and supply chain industries, a survey of more than 9,000 American consumers has found that back-to-school shopping will increase this year by about 10.5 percent.

The annual survey, commissioned by the National Retail Federation and conducted in late June and early July by BIGresearch, found that families plan to spend on average a total of $606.40 on back-to-school clothes and supplies this season. This is up from $548.72 per family in 2009 and $594.24 in 2008. Total 2010 back-to-school spending for K-12 kids is estimated by the NRF to total $21.35 billion.

"We are encouraged by the fact that parents are eager to start their back to school shopping this year, but the industry still remains cautiously optimistic about recovery," said NRF President and CEO Matt Shay. "As the second half of the year gets under way, retailers will gauge their customers' spending appetites, which often serve as a bellwether for the all-important holiday season."

The back-to-school season typically produces a surge in container imports – second only to the winter holiday season – as shippers try to fill shelves in anticipation of shopper demands.

The survey of 9,009 consumers also found that the average college student's family will spend $616.13 on new apparel, furniture for dorms or apartments, school supplies and electronics. College students and their families spent only slightly more – $618.12 – in 2009. Total spending on back to college merchandise is expected to reach $33.77 billion.

The NRF estimates that combined K-12 and college spending for 2010 will reach $55.12 billion.