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Some college students, families to shop online

ATLANTA — More than a third of college students and their parents say they started shopping for the new school year two months before school beginning this year, and another third are getting started about now.

According to the National Retail Federation and its division shop.org, the average college shopper will spend $1,121, or 34 percent more than back-to-college shoppers overall. Their survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics reports that slightly less than 40 percent of back-to-college shoppers will do some part of their shopping online this year, much like last year.

The organizations reports that this year,back-to-college shopping is a multi-channel affair. College students and their families will shop online, but not just online. The survey found that 57 percent will go to department stores, while 52 percent will shop in discounts stores, 49 percent will go to college bookstores and 45 percent will visit office supply stores.

Electronics will capture the lion’s share of the budget. Online back-to-college shoppers expect to spend an average $301 on electronics and computer-related equipment along with an average $160 on clothing and accessories.

More than two out of five college students will live at home, according to the survey. Spending on dorm or apartment furnishings will come in at an average $137, largely on par with last year, but 42 percent of students will live at home rather than on campus, up from 39 percent in 2012.

The U.S. economy factors heavily into shopping activities, NRF reports. In addition to more college students living at home, 47 percent of shoppers will look to the web to do more comparison shopping, find sales more often (46 percent), spend less overall (43 percent) and buy more store or generic brands (37 percent). Also, more than one-third of online back-to-college shoppers plan to actively use coupons more this year.