Coronavirus era school supplies

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School Supply Shopping 2020 Means Face Masks and Lots of Tech, Survey Says

Parents plan to spend more than ever before
Coronavirus era school supplies

FatCamera/E+ via Getty Images

Whether the 2020 school year will begin online or in the classroom, supply shopping is priority No. 1 as the back-to-school season ramps up. And according to a recent National Retail Federation survey, parents and guardians plan to spend a record amount to ready their students for the 2020 socially distanced school year.

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According to the National Retail Federation annual back-to-school survey, parents with children in elementary school through high school plan to spend a record-breaking average of $789.49 per family. Overall, kindergarten through 12th grade spending is expected to total $33.9 billion, up from $26.2 billion in 2019 and breaking the record of $30.3 billion set in 2012.

On the college front, parents of college students plan to spend an average of $1,059.20 per family. Overall, college spending is expected to total $67.7 billion, breaking the record of $55.3 billion set in 2018.

Of the 7,481 consumers surveyed, 88% believed the pandemic will affect their school supply shopping in some form this year. Almost half (43%) planned to shop more online and 30% planned to save money by doing more comparison shopping.

At the time of the survey, July 1 to July 8, the majority of shoppers (55%) expected all students to take at least some of their fall classes at home. Another 26% expected most or all classes to be taught in person. 

The anticipated move to online learning has parents changing up their supply list. Of those who expected students to be at home, 72% believed they would need to buy supplies to accommodate remote online learning. The top item consumers said they plan to buy specifically because of e-learning is a laptop (36%) followed by computer speakers, headphones and other accessories such as a mouse or flash drive.

Related

In the hustle to prepare school supplies, don’t forget to pack an extra mask and get your child’s flu shot this year. And remember, sticking to the bare necessities is one of the easiest ways to save money on school supplies.