Most American parents (75%) and teens (73%) say back-to-school shopping causes tension, with the question of whether to buy a budget or name brand a major stressor, according to research from shopping rewards program Ebates that was emailed to Retail Dive.
Half of parents find shopping for clothing and shoes a particular problem, while 30% of teens most dread shopping for school supplies. Parents seem most irritated by financial concerns, including when kids want a name brand that's not in the budget (17%), want too many impulse items (16%) or can't agree on the budget (11%). Meanwhile, 20% of teens said they are annoyed that their parents waited too long, 15% are irritated they can't get a name brand and 10% are frustrated that their parents rush through stores.
There are some areas of general agreement: 92% of parents and 81% of teens prioritize clothes and shoes and 88% of parents and 90% of teens focus on school supplies. Electronics are deemed essential by only 32% of parents and 26% of teens.
Back-to-school shopping is retail's second most important sales season, but with it comes budget concerns for both parents and many teens, who according to the National Retail Federation, will spend on average $35.60 of their own money.
With many parents aware that they'll be budgeting for the holidays soon, 13% plan to spend less than $100 on school preparations, while 39% plan to spend $100-$300 and 28% anticipate shelling out $300-$500. About 22% will spend more than $500. The study also showed that many teenagers think their parents spend less on back-to-school than they actually do.
Families may have less tension to deal with in the future, as back-to-school shopping moves out of season. Although consumers do plan to buy personal care items, gift cards and food for school, they may plan to buy them as needed throughout the school year rather than stocking up for the entire semester, the NRF said.
Electronics — including laptops, tablets and smartphones — are now an everyday part of household life and aren't necessarily a purchase parents save for the start of the school year, according to the NRF, resulting in a slight decrease in spending for this category during the season.