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.?


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


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%).


“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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