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These Are The Top Tech Products — And Retailers — Of The Back-To-School Season

While some kids are just beginning their summer break, back-to-school (BTS) shopping is already in full swing for most parents.

According to a survey by advertising buying platform Rubicon Project, more than a third of parents (34 percent) have already begun their BTS shopping, and will continue to shop throughout the summer.

The good news for CE retailers and manufacturers is that more will be spent on technology products this season than on any other category, including apparel and school supplies, and most parents (61 percent) plan to spend more than last year.

The survey shows that parents of K-12 students will, on average, spend $343 on tech devices, $216 on mobile devices, and $173 on telecommunications, including, wireless plans and Internet access.

The budgets are even bigger for entering college freshmen, for whom $470 will be spent, on average, for technology, $246 for mobile devices, and $192 for telecommunications.

And what exactly will they be spending all that cash on?  Laptops are tops at 49 percent of all planned tech purchases, followed by:

* tablets, 42 percent

* mobile devices, 31 percent

* headphones, 27 percent

* mobile phone plans, 22 percent

* desktop computers, 18 percent

* cameras, 14 percent

* music players, 1 percent

Which begs the question, where will they be buying all this CE stuff? In a reversal from summer 2015, the majority of parents (61 percent) are letting their fingers do the walking on Amazon’s web and mobile sites, with Walmart coming in a close second at 60 percent.

Last year, however, Walmart was the No. 1 BTS destination at 61 percent of respondents, while Amazon trailed at 58 percent.

Related: Amazon Passes Walmart As No. 2 In Electronics

Best Buy continued in third place, with 49 percent of parents planning to shop there, down from 51 percent last year, while Target and Apple Stores trailed at 30 percent and 6 percent, respectively.

But regardless of whom they shop, about half of the tech purchases will be made online or via a mobile device, the survey found, with 66 percent of parents doing at least some BTS shopping from their tablet or smartphone.

The study was conducted June 12-15 by global polling firm Penn Schoen Berland, which conducted more than 1,500 interviews, including 1,000 K-12 parents and 506 parents of entering freshman.