FILE - School supplies, back to school

The price tag for parents to send their kids back to school this year is estimated at more than $500. 

The back-to-school shopping list seems to grow every year, and never seems to get any cheaper. 

Liz Berrill, an audit partner with accounting and consulting firm Deloitte, said a new survey puts the back-to-school price tag at about $510 per family this year – $28 billion in all. 

Berrill said that includes everything from shoes, computers, pens, pencils, glue sticks, plastic bags, and all the new technology. 

"Compared to when you and I were kids, we were not spending on computers or cell phones, or anything like that," Berrill said. "And that does make up almost $4 billion of the $28 billion back-to-school spend. So that's kind of a change over time."

Berrill says the back-to-school shopping season, essentially July and August, is second only to the holiday shopping season. 

But unlike the holidays, Berrill says parents will buy most of their back-to-school supplies in brick-and-mortar stores. 

"Shoppers are spending more money in stores than online," Berrill said. "We continue to hear about the trend away from brick-and-mortar stores and toward online. But shoppers plan to spend almost double, about $300 in stores nationally, compared to what they spend online."

Berrill says their survey shows that kids will have a big impact on what parents buy, if not how much they spend. 


An industry veteran with two decades of experience in media, Benjamin Yount reports on Illinois statewide issues for INN.

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