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Consumers are expected to spend a record $135.5 billion on back-to-school and back-to-college shopping this year, according to a recent survey by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

Back-to-school spending for elementary and high school students is expected to reach $41.5 billion, up from $36.9 billion last year and the previous high of $37.1 billion in 2021. Back-to-college spending is expected to hit $94 billion, about $20 billion more than last year’s record.

“Back-to-class shopping is one of the most important consumer shopping occasions of the year. Our research for 2023 shows American consumers are eager to jumpstart their back-to-school and college purchases early,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said Thursday.

“Retailers have been preparing for months to ensure they are well stocked with essential items that families and students need for the school year,” Shay said.

Shopping in preparation for the first day of school is already well underway. As of early July, more than half (55%) of consumers who are buying for back-to-class said they have already started shopping. This is on par with last year, but is up from 44% in 2019, and is in line with the trend of consumers shopping earlier for major spending events.

While consumers have started shopping early, as of early July, 85% of those surveyed said they still have at least half of their shopping left to do. The top shopping destinations are online, department stores and discount stores.

Families with children in elementary through high school plan to spend an average of $890 on back-to-school items this year, about $25 more than last year’s record of $864 and a new high. Higher spending is primarily driven by more demand for electronics, with 69% of back-to-school shoppers planning to buy electronics or other computer-related accessories this year, up from 65% last year.

Total spending on electronics is expected to reach a record $15.2 billion. As in past years, the top electronics consumers plan to purchase are laptops (51%), tablets (36%) and calculators (29%).

College students and their families are expected to spend an average of $1,367 per person, up from $1,199 last year, and a new record from the previous record of $1,200 in 2021. Since 2019, back-to-college spending has nearly doubled.

Forty-three percent of those who are spending more than last year say it is because they need more new items, up from 32% last year. Another third (32%) attribute it to needing more big-ticket items such as a computer, phone, calculator or dorm furnishings. Spending on electronics and furnishings as well as necessities like food accounts for more than half of the increase in total back-to-college spending.

NRF has conducted a comprehensive survey on back-to-class shopping trends since 2003. This year’s research included 7,843 consumers between June 30 and July 6 with a margin of error of plus or minus 1.1 percentage points.