This content was published on the ATSC blog on August 5, 2019

The minute we’ve all finally settled into the slower pace of the summer months, the signs go up: Back to School! Whether you have children who are getting ready to go back or whether you are thinking wistfully of your own school days, the back-to-school supply chain is an amazing feat that affects most of the retail industry. It is actually the second biggest shopping season of the year – second only to the holidays, including Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) releases an annual report highlighting the figures and trends associated with back to school shopping. According to the 2019 NRF report, this year’s back-to-school spending levels will be the highest ever per household, $696.70, but not the highest overall as less families are expected to participate. Total projected spending for 2019 is $80.7B, down 2.5% from $82.8B in 2018. The major categories of spending they define include school supplies, clothing and accessories, shoes and electronics.

While we can all appreciate the magic of new pencils and notebooks, looking at this shopping season as a supply chain professional requires a different perspective – and offers a few surprises about buyer preferences and retail industry impact.

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