Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

Florida Retail Federation anticipates higher than usual graduation spending

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

The Florida Retail Federation estimates that Florida families with graduating high school and college students will spend more than $100 on average to celebrate the occasion.

Nationally, spending is expected to reach $4.77 billion according to the National Retail Federation’s 2015 Graduation Spending Survey. That amount is the highest in the survey’s 10-year history.

“Graduation is such an important milestone in an adult’s life with proud parents eager to shower their graduates with gifts and commemorative items in celebration of their big accomplishment,” wrote Florida Retail Federation President and CEO Rick McAllister in a congratulatory email. “With parents feeling more secure in their jobs and the economy, Florida’s retail industry expects to see record-breaking sales this year as some of these graduates become the newest members of our talented industry workforce.”

According to the email, cash and gift cards are expected to account for most of the spending. More grads should expect clothing as a gift than electronics, with 13 percent of those surveyed indicating apparel purchases and only 10 percent wrapping up an electronic gift. However, electronic purchases are up this year compared with last.

The survey found 45-54-year-olds will spend the most on grads this year, at an average of $126 each.

Locally some graduations have already wrapped up. Eckerd College held its commencement ceremony Sunday. USF Tampa grads celebrated May 1 and 2. Pinellas high school graduations will vary depending on schools during the first week of June.

Grads in Hillsborough will take that final walk in high school just a couple days after those in Pinellas.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email

Latest from Statewide

Go to Top