Two Back-to-School Surveys, Two Different Forecasts

Purchase, N.Y., Asurvey sponsored by MasterCard International and conducted by Ipsos-Insight shows that 37% of parents expect to spend more on back-to-school items this year than last year. This survey estimates that parents of students college-aged and younger expect to spend $573 on back-to-school items.

This survey is at odds with one completed by the National Retail Federation (NRF), which reported that consumer back-to-school spending will decrease this year. It found that families with school-aged children will spend an average of $443.77 on back-to-school items, a decrease of 8.2%. The NRF estimates total back-to-school spending at $13.39 billion this year, vs. $14.79 billion last year. Although the reports disagree about total back-to-school spending, both show that clothing will make up the largest amount of sales.

There were differences in the methods of data collection with the two reports. The NRF survey polled 6,487 consumers from July 6 to 13 and has a margin of error of +/-1%. The MasterCard survey interviewed 292 parents from July 12 to 14 and has a margin of error of +/-5.74%.

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