Parents held off on shopping for back-to-school. Here’s why

Nearly a quarter of parents haven’t started shopping for back-to-school items yet, and retailers are feeling the impact.

Of parents surveyed Aug. 1-9, only 13 percent had completed all their shopping, and 23 percent had not started at all, according to the National Retail Federation. Results come even though the number of parents who planned to start shopping at least two months before the beginning of school was up this year at 27 percent, compared with 22 percent last year.

» RELATED: Before Ohio’s sales tax holiday, retailers push back-to-school sales

NRF has forecast that families will spend $83.6 billion on back-to-school this year, including $29.5 billion on K-12 and $54.1 billion on college.

“Similar to recent years, some of the big-ticket items are being significantly influenced by school requirements,” said Prosper Principal Analyst Pam Goodfellow. “That is why we are seeing many parents take their time in tackling their lists so they can take advantage of any special promotions that can help them save on items such as laptops and computers.”

Among parents of younger students in grade school, about 79 percent said they still needed to buy basic supplies such as pencils and paper, up from 77 percent at the same time last year. About 75 percent of those parents also still needed to buy apparel, up from 70 percent who still needed to at the same time last year.

» RELATED: 3 things to know about the Ohio Sales Tax Holiday

Ohio’s sales tax holiday, which falls on the first weekend of August, offers sales tax exemptions on certain items for back-to school shoppers. The deal includes clothing priced up to $75 and school supplies and instruction materials priced under $20.

The Ohio Sales Tax Holiday deals were expected to save shoppers more than $3 million in sales taxes.


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