Survey: Consumers to spend $300 on back-to-school

New York -- A survey released Tuesday by the International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman-Sachs found that 42% of U.S. consumers expect to spend more on back-to-school items this year than they did in 2011.

With the back-to-school shopping season already well underway as one-third of households reported that they have begun to shop, ICSC and Goldman-Sachs expect the average household expenditure on all types of back-to-school items will be about $300 this year.

Forty-four percent plan to spend the same amount as last year, while only 14% indicated they would spend less. Of the 42% of consumers that plan to increase spending, nearly half indicated that it was due to a need to replace wardrobes and school supplies.

“Despite the relatively soft economic conditions over the last quarter, consumers view back-to-school merchandise as essential, which is likely a key reason that so many consumers plan to increase spending this year,” said Michael P. Niemira, ICSC VP research and chief economist. “Even more encouraging for retailers is that nearly 20% of respondents plan to increase spending by more than 10% compared with the 2011 season. Looking ahead, the industry should continue to see increases in sales as the intensity in back-to-school season shopping heats up next month.”

The majority of expected spending will be done in August as 65% of households reported that is when they will commence back-to-school shopping.

The number one item that consumers need for the coming school year is school supplies (88%), followed by apparel (79%). They plan to buy that merchandise at discount stores (83%), office supply stores (46%), and traditional department stores (44%).

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