Recognizing that a number of the best deals of the summer are still to come, some families have only scratched the surface of their back-to-school shopping lists as of mid-August, according to the National Retail Federation's latest back-to-school/college surveys. The average family with children in grades K-12 completed just half (49.9 percent) of their shopping by that time, down slightly from last year (52.1 percent).
“As the shopping season draws to a close, budget-conscious parents are likely hoping that end-of-summer sales and promotions will be just what they need to wrap up their school lists,” says Matthew Shay, president and chief executive officer, NRF. “Much of the delay this summer could also stem from families holding out for a sales tax holiday in their state, as well as from influential teenagers who want to first see what their friends are buying before they ask mom and dad to commit to their fall needs.”
According to the survey, as of Aug. 12, fewer families had stepped out to take advantage of retailers’ special school savings opportunities. Specifically, one-quarter (23.6 percent) had not started shopping yet, up from 20.9 percent last year. However, there were some who were eager to get started as they looked to spread out their spending: 15.7 percent say they have completed their lists, which is about the same amount as last year.
College families on the other hand, got a good jump on retailers’ sales and promotions this summer: 23.4 percent say they are completely finished with their lists, up from 20 percent last year. Additionally, slightly fewer families this year say they haven’t started shopping (26.2 percent vs. 28.8 percent last year.)