FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 25, 2016
The popular sales tax holiday takes place this weekend, July 30-31; Families and students encouraged to take advantage of this annual tax free shopping opportunity
ATLANTA, GA – The Georgia Retail Association (GRA), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 50 years, reminds Georgia residents that the annual back-to-school shopping season takes place this weekend, July 30-31. This annual tax free weekend allows Peach State families to save on vital supplies, clothes and technology to prepare their children for the upcoming year. The average family is expected to spend $673.57 on apparel and accessories, electronics, shoes and school supplies, up from last year’s $630.36. Nationally, sales for this back-to-school shopping weekend are expected to reach $75 billion, up from $68 billion last year.
“The back-to-school sales tax holiday is something that all Georgia families, students and even business professionals look forward to, to save money on the clothes, supplies and items they need for school or work,” said GRA President/CEO Randy Miller. “With more than 120,000 retailers in Georgia prepared for this popular weekend, we’re excited about the increased sales for businesses and the important savings for consumers.”
The holiday means big savings for shoppers and big business for retailers, which has become the second largest shopping weekend after Black Friday. As part of the holiday, shoppers don’t have to pay sales tax on back-to-school items including clothing and shoes priced at $100 or less, computers and accessories $1,000 or less, and school supplies less than $20 per item. Families with school-age children spend an average $634.78 on apparel, shoes, supplies and electronics to get ready for the school year.
According to GRA’s partners at the National Retail Federation’s recent survey, families with children in grades K-12 plan to spend an average $673.57 on apparel and accessories, electronics, shoes and school supplies, up from last year’s $630.36 for a total of $27.3 billion, according to the survey. That’s an increase of 9.6 percent from last year’s $24.9 billion and compares with a total growth of 54.8 percent over the past 10 years.
The numbers follow a pattern in which spending often increases one year as families stock up on supplies only to drop off the next as they get a second year out of longer-lasting items like backpacks or computers. Spending then increases in the third year once children outgrow clothing or items need to be replaced.
According to the survey, K-12 consumers plan to spend $9.54 billion on clothing (purchased by 95 percent), $8.27 billion on electronics such as computers or calculators (57 percent), $5.12 billion on shoes (94 percent) and $4.37 billion on school supplies such as notebooks, folders, pencils, backpacks and lunchboxes (96 percent). Parents say they will spend an average $235.39 on clothing, $204.06 on electronics, $126.35 on shoes and $107.76 on school supplies.
While discount stores continue to be the choice of the largest share of shoppers at 61 percent, the number is at its lowest level in the survey’s history. But 46 percent of parents said they would shop online, a dramatic jump from last year’s 36 percent. The vast majority of online shoppers plan to take advantage of free shipping (89 percent of those surveyed) and conveniences like buy online, pick up in store (54 percent).
Bigger Kids, Bigger Bills
College students and families with children in college plan to spend an average of $888.71, according to the survey. That’s down slightly from $899.18 last year, but total spending is expected to be up at $48.5 billion compared with $43.1 billion last year due to an increase of consumers shopping for back-to-college.
The survey found college consumers plan to spend $11.54 billion on electronics (purchased by 50 percent), $7.49 billion on clothing (70 percent), $6.23 billion on dorm furnishings (43 percent), $5.78 billion on food items (69 percent), $4.26 billion on personal care items (72 percent), $3.84 billion on shoes (67 percent), $3.53 billion on school supplies (81 percent), $3.14 billion on gift cards (36 percent) and $2.7 billion on branded collegiate gear (49 percent). Spending on electronics will average $211.33, apparel and accessories $137.29, dorm furnishings $114.21, food $105.88, personal care items $78.03, shoes $70.39, school supplies $64.64, gift cards $57.54 and branded gear $49.41.
Discount stores still account for the largest share of college shopping, visited by 44 percent of consumers, but the number is at its lowest level in the survey’s history. Only 34 percent will visit a college bookstore, also a new low. Online shopping is the choice of 38 percent of shoppers, down from 39 percent last year and a peak of 45 percent two years ago.
The survey of 6,809 consumers asked about both back-to-school and back-to-college plans was conducted June 30-July 6 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.
As part of a recent study from The Washington Economics Group, the back-to-school sales tax holiday has the potential to increase economic activity in Georgia by at least $475.8 million. The same study estimates the tax holiday generates an additional $182.2 million in wages.
ABOUT THE GEORGIA RETAIL ASSOCATION
Since 1961, the Georgia Retail Association has been working on behalf of the retail community to unite and pursue the common goal of creating the best environment for retailing in Georgia. Retail supports 1 out of 4 jobs in the state and is directly and indirectly responsible for 18% of Georgia's gross domestic product.