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Nevada back-to-school shoppers likely to set spending record

Nevada parents are expected to spend record amounts as students head into the new school year, according to a study from the Nevada Retail Association.

Back-to-school shoppers will spend $481.4 million on clothes, supplies, food and electronics this year, an all-time high for the state, the Nevada Retail Association said Thursday.

“Both brick-and-mortar and online retailers are stocked up and ready for the influx of back-to-school shoppers,” RAN senior vice president Bryan Wachter said. “We expect to see elevated spending levels, as much of the usual shopping activity was not necessary during last year’s virtual school setup. Students are also excited for the return of in-person sports and other extracurricular activities, which could lead to additional spending.”

The association expects Nevada’s K-12 students will spend $337.8 million for back-to-school shopping, up 8.9 percent from last year.

Electronics are expected to be the largest spending category, thanks to increased in-home and distance learning at $116.2 million. Parents and students are estimated to spend $99.6 million on clothing, $63.3 million on shoes and $54.5 million on school supplies.

RAN said college students — 120,000 are enrolled in public and private colleges in Nevada — are likely to spend about $143.6 million this year. Electronics are also expected to be the largest spending category for college students at $30.8 million, followed by dorm and apartment furnishings ($19.3 million), clothing and accessories ($18.7 million), and food ($14.5 million).

Related: 7 tips for saving money on back-to-school shopping

Back-to-school shoppers are continuing a shift toward e-commerce sales, the retail association’s study found.

About 48 percent of K-12 parents reported both department stores and online shopping as their most popular shopping destinations. College shoppers in Nevada plan to do most of their shopping online, with 43 percent of college shoppers visiting popular online retail sites for supplies and clothes, according to RAN. About a third of college students plan to shop at department stores.

This year, 39 percent of shoppers indicated that they would be starting their back-to-school shopping during Amazon’s Prime Day, Target’s Deal Day and Walmart’s Deals for Days. But a majority of K-12 shoppers have waited until the last minute. About 76 percent indicated they waited until late July to start their shopping.

National Retail Federation research director Katherine Cullen said a year-plus away from the classroom has students playing catch-up with their clothes and supplies needed for in-class learning, leading to higher household back-to-school spending.

“(With) children heading off to school, they may not have needed uniforms last year. They may be purchasing those items this year,” Cullen said. “They may need different types of clothing or more clothes than they have in the past and then items like shoes, backpacks (and) lunch boxes.”

Recent economic stimulus measures are also leading to increased spending, Cullen added.

“About half of back-to-school shoppers are planning to use stimulus money they received or money from the recent child tax credit,” Cullen said.

Nationally, a National Retail Federation survey showed K-12 students and parents would spend $37.1 billion, with average spending per household around $848.90, up from $789.49 last year. College students will spend an estimated $71 billion with average household spending at $1,200, up from last year’s estimated 8.4 percent from last year’s estimate of $1,059.

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