School supply prices surge, parents expected to pay hundreds this year

As students head back to school, data shows that parents are spending more than ever.

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Friday, August 13, 2021
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As students head back to school, data shows that parents are spending more than ever.

Families will spend a record-breaking amount on school supplies this year, according to data from the National Retail Federation. The NRF reported families will spend an average of about $850 per household for grades K to 12.

Lars Perner, who is a clinical marketing professor at USC Marshall School of Business, said it's due to an unusual school year caused by the pandemic.

"Modern retailers, Target, Staples, Office Depot, even CVS -- those places tend to have very heavy sales on notebooks and pens and various other things. And I haven't seen those sales that much," said Perner.

Data shows that there is an 8% increase in spending on back-to-school clothing and shoes.

The NRF also reported the average household is expected to pay about $300 on electronics this year.

When it comes to electronics, laptop purchases beat out tablets and calculators.

Local parents Jet and Ali Tila said they've already spent $400 on school supplies this year for their two young children in public school.

"I'm not complaining. Whatever it takes for these public-school systems to get whatever they need, we're happy to. But man, it is an astronomical number. It makes me think of families who might not have enough," said Jet Tila.

According to their Calabasas school supplies list, items like soap, facial issues and sanitizer are now included on the list. They said this year's list costs five times the amount they usually pay.

The Tilas said it's mostly due to wanting to minimize germ spreading in the classroom.

"Our kids are too young to vaccinate at this point, too. So, I'm OK with them bringing their own supplies at this point," said Ali Tila.

Click here for more back-to-school coverage.