News Column

American Express Unveils Spending and Saving Tracker

August 21, 2014

According to the American Express Spending and Saving Tracker, parents expect to spend an average of $529 (46 percent) of their back-to-school budgets on electronic devices.

In a release, the Company noted that back-to-school spending is up 5 percent since last year, as parents say they'll spend an average of $1,151 (vs. $1,094 in 2013 and $867 in 2012).

With the majority of students using tech devices for learning (77 percent vs. 70 percent in 2013), it's no surprise that laptops, as well as classroom-friendly tablets, top kids' wish lists. The top five electronics parents intend to buy this season are: 1. Laptop computer (21 percent vs. 25 percent in 2013) 2. Tablet (20 percent vs. 15 percent in 2013) 3. Scientific calculator (17 percent vs. 18 percent in 2013) 4. Mobile phone (13 percent, on par with 2013) 5. Printer (12 percent vs 13 percent in 2013)

"Smartphones and laptops are being used for more than just games and social networking, as more students and schools find ways to integrate technology into the classroom," said David Rabkin, Senior Vice President of Consumer Lending Products at American Express. "As this trend continues, we expect consumer electronics retailers to see a lift in sales around back-to-school shopping time."

Younger students outpace their older counterparts with technology, as more K-8 (80 percent vs. 74 percent in 2013) and high school students (77 percent vs. 71 percent in 2013) report using electronic devices for learning than college students (75 percent vs. 69 percent in 2013). Tablets, specifically, are the device of choice for the K-8 set.

While tablets may be the new go-to for school, mom and dad understand smartphones are essential to safety and socializing, with 75 percent of parents who say they'll purchase a mobile phone for their child this year will choose a smartphone (vs. 69 percent in 2013). Parents report the average appropriate age for a phone remains at 12, and phone purchases for tweens (ages 10-14) have increased significantly (64 percent in 2014 vs. 57 percent in 2013).

Parents say they'll spend the majority of back-to-school clothing budgets at department stores (26 percent) and big box retailers (21 percent), followed by malls (16 percent), outlets/discount stores (13 percent) and online (10 percent), with credit card usage up significantly (44 percent vs. 39 percent in 2013).

From dioramas to book reports, parents anticipate their kids will have six school projects per child this year, and they will spend an average of $325 on extra supplies for these assignments. On top of financing school projects, parents will also contribute to their kids learning beyond purchasing supplies by lending their brain power. Most parents (57 percent) say they will give general guidance when helping out but leave it up to their children to complete big assignments, while nearly one-third (32 percent) actively participate and collaborate with kids on their school projects.

The American Express Spending and Saving Tracker research interviewing was conducted by Ebiquity.

More information:

inr.synapticdigital.com/americanexpress/spendsave.

((Comments on this story may be sent to newsdesk@closeupmedia.com))


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