How Is Back-to-School Shopping Still a Thing?
In the era of smartphones, you might expect back-to-school shopping for pens, notebooks, calculators, and other throwbacks to be going the way of the card catalog. Not so, according to data from the National Retail Federation (NRF), which has projected that fall 2017 will be the largest season ever for school-related spending.
This year, the category is expected to grow more than 10%, hitting $83.6 billion. Much of that will go to clothes ($10.2 billion, according to NRF projections), but school supplies like binders and glue are still going strong ($4.9 billion).
There are some changes, though. The Association of American Publishers found that print books accounted for 64% of higher-ed revenue in 2015—and just 59% in 2016. Perhaps related: Backpack sales peaked in 2015, according to the Travel Goods Association, falling nearly 10% last year by volume.
A version of this article appears in the Sept. 15, 2017 issue of Fortune with the headline “Back-to-School Shopping Still Exists.”