Americans Open Their Wallets as Schools Open Their Doors

My Auntie Lena was a strange bird.  She never missed a holiday sale the day after a holiday.  “Mom, where’s Auntie Lena today?  Well it’s December 26th.  She’s probably at Walmart or Yankee Candle stocking up on 40% marked down items for next holiday season!”  Hmmmm, makes sense… I guess.

Maybe Auntie Lena wasn’t the only sales-starved-OCD-plan-ahead-US-shopper after all.  According to our back to school study, “Do Your Homework: Start Early and Shop Sales”, one third of Americans have Auntie Lena’s shop-ahead sales itch when it comes to getting ready for back to school shopping.  In fact, 34% of Americans started shopping for back to school items before July 4th, with an astounding 42% of 18-34 year olds getting a jump on purchases.

Is it the preponderance of pre-July 4th sales attracting Auntie Lena’s Army, or something else driving Americans back into retail stores before the old spiral notebooks from last year can be thrown out?  The Ipsos data tells us quite clearly that sales make a difference when purchasing back to school items.  Nine in ten (96%) of Americans purchased items on sale, and eight in ten (84%) were influenced by some type of advertisement.

As a parent of three lovely monsters, who anxiously look forward to school’s startup every fall, I have had the pleasure of looking at the list sent home each year from the school outlining supplies needed for each child.  It’s a bit outrageous, and I understand every school district and school type (public-private-religious-charter) is different, but holy cow you need to get a bank loan for some of the school supply requests.  I said to my wife the other day (Auntie Lena’s favorite niece), “how much do we spend every year on back to school items?”  She said, “I don’t think you want to know.”  Between clothes, gadgets, and school supplies, it’s a small fortune.

Well low and behold, 13% of Americans actually stated they spend more on back to school items per child than winter holiday gifts. Maybe that’s why the gout in my right foot kicks up so much on Labor Day weekend.  Yow!  And an even more astonishing 35% spend the same amount.

Well I guess Horace Mann would be proud so many Americans put their hard earned money towards back to school shopping, while poor Old St. Nick will have to stand under the Kwanzaa tree, and light his Menorah with year old matches because there is no cabbage left in the bank for holiday shopping this year.

Back to School Infographic

To download this infographic: Ipsos Back to School Infographic