Back-to-school spending has been underway since mid-July, in some states even earlier, as families brace themselves for a full year of learning, sports events, and extracurricular activities.

Timing is everything regarding back-to-school shopping, and most budget-conscious parents advise starting early to get the best deals on products and accessories. Most (91%) of consumers say promotions influence their back-to-school purchases. Nine in 10 say inflation and rising prices will impact their purchases, consistent with 2022 results, aligning with the nearly 72% who plan to stick to a strict budget this year. For those needing a little guidance, check out this list of hardy supplies from a former middle school teacher.

In households with children in elementary through high school, families expect to spend, on average, $890. That number increases significantly as households with college-age children contribute even more to the economy despite the crunch of inflation. Analysts expect back-to-school spending for higher education supplies to hit $94 billion, a 20% increase compared to 2022.

Regardless of what age your students are, most folks are likely to shop for deals. Seven in 10 consumers said they would shop at discount stores (an increase of five percentage points from last year), making it the most popular type of retailer for back-to-school shopping. And it is estimated that 80% of shoppers intend to purchase back to school supplies from mass merchandisers. Staples, Walmart, Best Buy, and Apple have all listed promotional deals in their toe-to-toe with Amazon for school supply spending.

Electronics are high on everybody’s list, topping categories with high spending this back-to-school season. According to ICSC data, electronics will account for the most significant portion of expected spending for consumers ($261), though school supplies saw the most considerable increase from recent years ($168, up from $137 in 2022). Other top spending categories include apparel ($233), furniture ($205), and sporting goods ($102).

As your household gears up for back-to-school, we’d love to hear what’s on your shopping list. Please find me on LinkedIn to get in on the conversation.