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.