Record spending expected for 2020-2021 back-to-school shopping
BBB encouraging vigilance for back to school online shopping
TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - The National Retail Federation predicts record high amounts for back-to-school shopping spending this year.
According to the NRF’s 2020 Back-to-School Spending Survey, conducted by Proper Insights & Analytics, parents with children in grades K-12 plan to spend an average of $789.49 per family — a record high amount, and a more than $90 increase from 2019.
“That’s probably right on point when you get the backpack and the binders,” Megan Burks says.
Burks has two daughters attending school in Kimberly. She expects school to start up on Aug. 28, and that they still have some back-to-school shopping.
“We’ve been to the store several times, and the girls see some supplies, and they want to get them,” she said. “I’m like, well, let’s wait another week, so we know what’s going on.”
Uncertainty over whether the school year will be in-person or online due to the coronavirus is playing a part in today’s back-to-school spending habits. According to the survey conducted by NRF, only 17% of consumers said their shopping was complete by early July, and 43% of those surveyed plan to do more shopping online.
For Megan Burks, she says her family makes an effort to try to spend their money at the brick and mortar stores within the community, but she has noticed a difference in what’s available.
“We’re very big on keeping things in the community,” she says. “And when we have gone to the mall or other places lately, they don’t have the supplies if they’re usually do when it comes to clothes.”
It’s a trend the Better Business Bureau says has help drive some of today’s consumers online.
“What the Better Business Bureau has seen here in Idaho is the tried-and-true retailers that they’re used to going to are out of supplies,” says Jeremy Johnson of the Better Business Bureau Northwest & Pacific.
Unfortunately it’s also led to an increase in consumers heading to fraudulent websites where an unsuspecting consumer can have their personal or financial information stolen.
“Maybe they haven’t heard of or a website that pops up on social media and that’s where we’re seeing people losing money,” Johnson says. “They’re trying and shopping at places that maybe they haven’t done their research and aren’t legitimate.”
The BBB is encouraging parents to be vigilant when conducting back to school shopping online.
- Look out for phishing emails posing as a well-known brand
- Keep financial documentation of all online orders
- Shop with a credit card
- Always make sure the device has the latest updates and regularly scan for viruses
A lure scammers could be using to target unsuspecting shoppers? According to the NRF’s survey 63% of families K-12 plan on buying computers and other electronics and will spend an average of $71 more toward those items.
Burks says her family purchased a laptop for her children when schools shut down earlier this year, but they could be looking at purchasing a new one in the near future.
“In March when the schools shut down, we went and purchased a laptop that both the girls share,” she says. “We might get an additional one because I know many schools are going to implement maybe one day a week of online schooling.”
Big ticket items like laptops are in high demand for today’s back-to-school shoppers. According to Idaho Business for Education, close to 200,000 Idaho students are in-need of computers before the school year.
“Anything that will run the software for online learning is an absolute necessity right now,” said Shawnee Kyle of Idaho Business for Education. “If you think about the students who are in need of it, sometimes there’s several students in one household.”
But there are ways to help. Idaho Gov. Brad Little recently signed a proclamation declaring Aug. 5 “Close the Digital Divide Day” in Idaho. A day where Idahoans are asked to donated used laptops and other electronic devices to help students access blended opportunities as they head into the new school year.
“At every First Federal location in the Magic Valley, we collect devices, computer devices, laptop devices so that we can turn around and offer those to students who don’t have devices for online learning,” Kyle says.
Donation stations will be set up across the state, locations can be found here.
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