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Back to school counterpoint: Will parents spend less this year?

by | Aug 10, 2017 | Public Relations

Back to school shopping is in full swing, and both parents and teens are busy tackling long shopping lists. The National Retail Federation and others have suggested that this year will be a record-breaker when it comes to shopping spend.

But according to a new survey conducted on behalf of cash-back shopping firm Ebates, many parents (42 percent) plan to spend between $100-$300—significantly less than the $250-$500 they planned to spend last year. The survey also reveals that a majority of American parents are likely to take advantage of back-to-school promotions (80 percent).

Back to school cool

Parents and teens were aligned in their thoughts on back to school essentials, with both saying that clothing and shoes were at the top of their shopping lists (73 percent for parents and 60 percent for teens). This is followed by pens/pencils/notebooks (19 percent for parents and 33 percent for teens) and a backpack or school bag (7 percent for parents and 6 percent for teens).

When it comes to the “fun” back to school items, accessories win for both parents (58 percent) and teens (61 percent). This is followed by:

Back to school counterpoint: Will parents spend less this year?

The majority of teens (66 percent) also plan to get a haircut over the summer, while college students plan to buy microwaves (24 percent), mini fridges (22 percent), futons (15 percent) and hot plates (11 percent).

More than two-thirds (36 percent) of American parents say that they typically end up purchasing all of their back to school supplies from three stores, and 30 percent will buy from just two.

‘Please don’t make me buy that’

While parents and teens generally agree on what they plan to buy this year, they differ on the items they dread purchasing. Teens don’t like shopping for pens and pencils (33 percent), while parents dread buying clothes and shoes (50 percent).

Back to school counterpoint: Will parents spend less this year?

L4L = Like for Like

Social media is everywhere—and this year it’s even going to help teens with their back-to-school shopping decisions. When asked which platform they use most frequently, teens say they use Instagram (68 percent) and Snapchat (67 percent) equally. Facebook was far behind, with only 39 percent of teens using it the most. College students rated Facebook much higher, however, with this age demographic selecting Instagram (71 percent), Snapchat (67 percent) and Facebook (66 percent) using each with about the same frequency.

When it comes to which social media platform is most helpful when finding back-to-school items to purchase, younger teens selected Instagram (45 percent), while college students chose Facebook (53 percent).

“Our back to school survey found that budgets are smaller this year and that parents and teens are shopping for the tried-and-true back-to-school essentials,” said Amit Patel, CEO of Ebates.

The national survey, conducted online by Propeller Insights on behalf of Ebates in June 2017, was fielded among 1,001 adults and 500 teens.

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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