Moms Predict Increase in Back-to-School Spending

August 12, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Retail & E-Commerce | Women | Youth & Gen X

Back-to-school spending in 2008 will be modestly higher than last year, with an 8% increase over 2007 spending levels – $484, compared with $449 in 2007 -?according to (PDF) a national study of US mothers by the Marketing to Moms Coalition.?

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The spending increases will be in the categories of clothing (not including athletic shoes), electronics and school supplies, the study found.

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Mothers show a strong preference for spending their back-to-school dollars in “brick-and-mortar” environments that offer one-stop shopping, according to the Marketing to Moms Coalition.

The most popular brick-and-mortar retailers for back-to-school shopping are mass merchandisers, chosen by 85% of respondents. Shoe stores came in second at 51%, and “dollar” stores came in third at 42%, ahead of office supply stores (37%).

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“Moms tend to prefer brick-and-mortar stores because they want their kids to try on clothes and pick out items they like,” said Bridget Brennan, CEO of consultancy Female Factor and a founder of the Marketing to Moms Coalition.

One quarter of all moms surveyed plan to do more than 20% of their back-to-school shopping online, an increase over last year. The most popular websites cited for online shopping are are Wal-Mart (31% plan to shop there), Amazon (19%), Target (15%), Staples (13%) and Old Navy (11%).

The trend toward obtaining supplies directly through schools also appears to be gaining traction. Some 20% of mothers with school-age children say their child’s school offers a service that enables them to buy supplies and textbooks without visiting a store.

“Back to school” is also a time for mothers to turn over a new leaf, the study said. The percentage of mothers agreeing that their children going back to school causes a major re-evaluation of the family’s priorities and spending behavior has increased over last year:

  • More than 70% of mothers say they plan routines and spending around their children going back to school (vs. 51% in 2007).
  • 75% of mothers say they set new resolutions and priorities for the school year with “back to school” (vs. 44% in 2007).
  • 68% of mothers say they plan to pack more healthy lunches for their children this school year (vs. 63% in 2007).

About the study: The study was conducted online in June 2008. The sample comprised 420 mothers with at least one child age 7-12 in their household. Results were analyzed by Insight to Action, Inc.

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