Parents are expected to spend more on hoodies, backpacks and notebooks for their kids this back-to-school season, but they'll also be laser-focused on bargains as they scour stores and e-commerce sites for the best deals.
Shoppers with children in grades K-12 will shell out an estimated $688.62 on back-to-school products, from clothing and school supplies to electronics, up from $603.63 last year, according to the National Retail Federation's 2012 Back-To-School spending survey, conducted by BIGInsight.
At the same time, 84.8% of consumers with school-age children said the still-weak economy is influencing their spending plans. More people plan to shop for sales more often over the coming months: 51.1% versus 50.1% last year, the survey revealed.
They'll also look to save money by doing more online comparison shopping to find the best prices: 32.1% versus 29.8% last year.
Given all that, it should come as little surprise that most consumers surveyed (67.1%) will shop discount stores this back-to-school season.
Even the kids will chip in more for their back-to-school purchases: Teens will spend $36.48 on pens, paper, lunch boxes and other items, up from $31.64 in 2011.
Shoppers will also spend significantly more on back-to-college merchandise, an average of $907.22 on everything from dorm furniture to school supplies and personal care items, up from $808.71 last year, according to consumers polled.
Interestingly, the growth of online shopping has led to a resurgence of both digital and paper catalogs, the survey revealed. An estimated 15.1% of shoppers plan to use catalogs to buy back-to-college items, up from 11.4% last year.