Early back-to-school shopping trends

Consumers aren't in a big rush to start shopping, compared with previous years

NEW YORK (CNN) – Despite positive trends in the U.S. economy, things like a falling unemployment rate, and lower gas prices, American consumers remain hesitant to open their wallets, and that trend may continue through the back-to-school shopping season, typically second only to holiday shopping in terms of consumer spending.

June brought a dip in retail sales, and April and May were softer than initially estimated, according to the most recent tally and revisions by the government. Also, a survey by retailers finds consumers will continue to hold back, and find ways to save, on back-to-school expenses.

An annual forecast from the National Retail Federation finds Americans planning to spend an average of 630 dollars and 36 cents on their back-to-school needs. That’s a drop of almost 39 dollars from last year.

Retailers say there are simply some back-to-school items that don’t need to be purchased every single year. That’s one reason their survey anticipates a drop in the big spending area of electronics, for example.

The survey also found consumers not in a big rush to start shopping, compared with previous years. The percentage of families getting started at least two months before the start of school dipped this year, and about 30 percent will wait until one or two week before school, likely hoping for last minute deals.

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