Back to school

Almost half of parents are expected to do their kids’ back-to-school shopping online this year.

Consumers will spend an average $673.57 on back-to-school shopping this year, up about $7 from last year, according to new projections from the National Retail Federation.

About 46 percent of parents with children in grades K-12 will do their shopping online, up from 36 percent last year. About 89 percent of these shoppers plan to take advantage of free shipping offers.

“The budget-conscious consumer is not forgetting about price, quality or value, and that’s why many parents are taking advantage of … free shipping with online purchases,” said industry analyst Pam Goodfellow.

The most popular purchases will be clothing, shoes, electronics and school supplies, according to the projections.

Almost three-quarters of families will begin their back-to-school shopping a month or two earlier this year, up from 62 percent last year.

Total back-to-school spending for families with children in grades K-12 is expected to reach $27.3 billion, up 9.6 percent from last year.