The start of school is still weeks away, but many Americans have already begun their back-to-school shopping, according to the National Retail Federation. And this year, their shopping lists are longer – and glitzier – than in years past.
FFamilies are now in a state of mind where they feel a lot more confident about the economy,” said Matthew Shay, the organization’s president and chief executive. “With stronger employment levels and a continued increase in wages, consumers are spending more and we are optimistic that they will continue to do so.”
Families with school-age children are projected to spend an average of $688 per child, while the total for college students is much higher. The average college student plans to spend $1,051 this year, and in addition parents say they will spend an average of $1,347 on supplies for college, according to a survey by Deloitte. Overall back-to-school spending is expected to rise 10 percent to $83.6 billion, according to the NRF.
coming year. “The big thing about millennial pink is that it isn’t too girly,” she said. “This isn’t the classic bubble-gum pink that a lot of girls have turned their backs on.”
3. Video-game-friendly laptops: Students are increasingly “studying by day, gaming by night” – and want a laptop that can do both, said Petter Knutrud, head of merchandising for Office Depot. This year, the chain is stocking its stores with lightweight laptops that can be lugged from class to class, and then used for high-performance video games in the evenings. “It used to be that you needed a mammoth, clunky laptop for gaming,” Knutrud said. “Now you can do it all in one daytime-acceptable device.”
4. Flashy sneakers: This year’s sneakers are awash in neon colors, sequins, pom poms and flashing lights. “Kids have limited ways to express their personalities,” Bodge said. “That’s where bright and exciting sneakers come in.” One example: Skechers’ Twinkle Toes line, which includes light-up sneakers covered in neon-colored cats, glitter emojis, metallic sequins and iridescent unicorns. Some also have pom poms, rhinestones and three-dimensional flowers. At Walmart, executives are banking on Flashlights, a line of high-top sneakers with light-up soles, to rack up an expected $25 million in back-to-school sales. “These are a huge trend we’re betting on this year,” Steve Bratspies, Walmart’s chief merchandising officer, said earlier this summer.
5. Accessories . . . for everything: It’s not just sneakers that are getting an over-the-top facelift this year. Retailers say add-ons like pom poms, stickers and emoji icons are making their way onto everything from notepads to pencil pouches. “How do you take the everyday stuff you use and make it more ‘you’? That’s the big question this year,” Knutrud said. “A notebook can’t just be a plain notebook anymore. It’s got to have little doo-dads.” To that end, he said Office Depot has begun adding special displays of accessories – keychains, charms, pencil toppers, donut-shaped erasers – throughout the store. And for the high schooler looking to spruce up a dingy locker: This year’s offerings include chandeliers, light-up mirrors and shag rugs, all made to fit in a standard locker.