Pre-School Moms Less Likely to Cut Back-to-School Spending

July 31, 2009

This article is included in these additional categories:

CPG & FMCG | Financial Services | Retail & E-Commerce | Women | Youth & Gen X

Moms of kids with younger children are significantly less likely than moms with older children to reduce their back-to-school spending this year, but most moms in both groups will still be using coupons and seeking deals, according to a survey of US moms by The Parenting Group.

The study found that US moms of pre-schoolers (ages 3-5) are less likely than moms of school-age kids (ages 6-12) to cut spending in such categories as clothing, backpacks, personal-care items, sports equipment, school lunches, snacks and after-school activities:


Despite this difference in moms’ intentions based on the ages of their children, the study did find that most are planning to take at least some measures to ensure they get the most value for their back-to-school dollars. Among the most popular cost-saving tactics among all moms:

  • 75% plan to use coupons
  • 70% will stock up on school supplies when they’re on sale during the summer
  • 48% are switching from brand-name items to store-brand or generic products
  • 43% are using hand-me-downs instead of buying new clothing for kids
  • 42% plan to have their kids re-use last year’s backpack

Children Don’t Have Much Influence

When asked how much influence children have on their buying decisions in certain categories, survey respondents claimed to have most control in all but the backpack category. More than one-third (34%) of moms let their children select their own backpacks, while they report being the primary decision maker in all other categories.

At the other end of the spectrum, the purchase of computer equipment involved the least amount of input from children, with 74% of moms reporting that spending in this category had no influence from children whatsoever.

“The results of MomConnection’s annual back-to-school survey indicate a sense of cautious optimism among moms with young children,” said Cheryl Sternberg, director of strategic insights for The Parenting Group. “Moms will continue to make do without new purchases for the home and for themselves, but as we’ve seen throughout the recession, kids’ activities and entertainment is the last place that they’ll cut back – and it will also be the first area where they’ll increase spending when conditions improve.”

Recent consumer studies from Deloitte and the NRF show that overall, the recession is expected to negatively affect the 2009 back-to-school shopping season and increase the hunt for discounts and deals. However, fewer consumers may cut back on back-to-school spending this year than in 2008, and key product categories such as electronics and “green” items may prove to be bright spots.

A new forecast from Nielsen forecasts a dollar sales rise in back-to-school spending of 0.4 to 1.3%, to $2.17 billion, a pace below the growth achieved in 2008.

About the survey: The findings are from a survey conducted among The Parenting Group’s MomConnection network, a nationally-representative panel of moms maintained by the publisher of Parenting and Babytalk magazines.

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