Despite an improving economy, students and parents will spend nearly 8 percent less this back-to-school season than in 2012, according to an annual survey from the National Retail Federation.
Prices for back-to-school needs are up this year and parents will save by shopping earlier for sales, shopping online and by having children re-use items bought in last year's booming back-to-school season, the NRF says.
Average back-to-school spending will be $635, down from last year's average of $689, the NRF says. Back-to-college spending also will shrink this year, the NRF says, to an average of $837 for supplies — including apparel, electronics and dorm furnishings — down from $907 last year. It estimates total U.S. spending will be $26.7 billion.
The back-to-school drop comes despite a 7.3 percent increase in the cost of school supplies, fees and activities estimated by Columbus, Ohio-based Huntington Bank's annual "Backpack Index."