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Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Families are expecting to spend a record amount on back-to-school shopping this year, according to a new National Retail Federation survey conducted this month.

Why it matters: Purchases will be driven in part by electronics items, putting more pressure on retailers and manufacturers to meet that demand amid a continuing chip shortage and other supply chain constraints.

  • Families with elementary school children are the most likely to say they are planning to purchase a smartphone this year, a shift from previous years when smartphone purchases skewed toward families with older children, according to the NRF.

By the numbers: Families with K-12 children expect to spend an average of $849 — up from $789 in 2020 and $697 in 2019.

  • College families say they anticipate spending $1,200 this year, up from $1,058 last year and $977 in 2019.
  • Laptops are expected to be the top electronics purchase for both categories of families — with 49% of K-12 and 57% of college families saying they'll buy them.

What to watch: Ongoing chip supply issues are already hampering production and sales for companies like Apple, as we reported Wednesday.

  • About half of families still need to start back-to-school shopping, the NRF said on a call Wednesday. Given that and the upcoming holiday season, consumers should think about buying products sooner rather than later to get ahead of any inventory problems.

Of note: The survey of 7,704 consumers was conducted July 1–8 and has a margin of error of ±1.1 percentage points.

Go deeper

Oct 19, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Parkland shooting victims' families settle suit with school district

A makeshift memorial outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14, 2020. Photo: Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Families and survivors of a 2018 mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, reached a $25 million settlement in their lawsuit against the Broward County school district Monday, per the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Why it matters: The deal was reached in the suit over the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High after the school district won a Florida Supreme Court ruling that could have capped damages at $300,000 in total without approval from the state legislature, AP notes.

37 mins ago - Technology

Facebook is a news media magnet

Expand chart
Data: Signal AI; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

New data finds that Facebook has been mentioned in more online stories in the U.S. in the past year than all of its major tech competitors combined.

Why it matters: Press scrutiny of Facebook has become so intense and negative that the tech giant is reportedly planning to rename itself as soon as next week to signal that it's more than just a social media company.

Amazon is now a bigger shipper in the U.S. than FedEx

Expand chart
Reproduced from Supply Chain Dive; Chart: Axios Visuals

Amazon is not primarily known as a logistics company, but in 2020 the company shipped more parcels than FedEx.

Why it matters: Logistics is a $1.5 trillion business — and it has long been controlled by a handful of key players, like FedEx, UPS and the U.S. Postal Service. Now Amazon is poised to conquer it.