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Early Back-to-School Shoppers Keep Economy In Mind [AUDIO]

With a month to go before most New Jersey students head back to school, many parents are hitting the stores a little early to restock and replenish backpacks, folders, clothing and other items and the economy won’t be far from their minds.

Spencer Platt, Getty Images

That’s according to the National Retail Federation’s 2012 Back-to-School Spending Survey conducted by BigInsight. The average person with children in grades K-12 will spend $688.62 per child, up from $603.63 last year. Total spending is expected to reach $30.3 billion.

“The economy is still on everyone’s minds especially when it comes to how, when and where they shop. So, many parents will look to cut corners in any way they can. The way people plan to do that is to shop online more often or use the internet to comparison shop to find the best deals,” said Kathy Grannis of the National Retail Federation. “About 40 percent of back-to-school shoppers say they will shop online at some point this summer. That’s up from about 32 percent last year.”

Nearly one in six, about 59.9 percent, say they will shop at department stores for back-to-school items. That’s up from 57 percent last year and the highest in the survey’s ten-year history. “The majority of people are planning to shop at least three weeks to one month before school. I think that’s because many families could be looking to spread out their spending and use their paychecks rather than buying everything in one lump sum,” said Grannis. “It also looks like the allowance freeze might have ended meaning parents may be contributing money back into their children’s pockets again after holding off for the last few years. The survey found that tweens and teens will be putting in more of their own money for items they want for back-to-school than they did last year as a result.”

So, what will parents be spending their money on? Clothing, accessories and electronics with an average of $246.10 on clothes, $217.88 on electronics. Additionally, the average person will spend $129.20 on shoes and $95.44 on school supplies like notebooks. pencils and backpacks.

As for college students, the survey found their families will spend an average $907.22 on everything from dorm furniture and collegiate gear to school supplies and personal care items, up from $808.71 last year. Total back-to-college spending is expected to reach $53.5 billion.

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