Parents to Spend Average $505 on Back-to-School Electronics: AmEx Survey

More kids are relying on electronics for learning and the trend is going strong, with parents expected to spend an average of $505 on back-to-school gadgets this year, according to the Spending & Saving Tracker from American Express.

A stunning 92 percent of parents report that their kids are using tech for learning. That’s a significant jump from the 82 percent who said the same in 2015, AmEx found.
Overall, parents expect to spend an average of $1,642 on back-to-school expenses this year, up significantly from $1,239 in 2015.
This coming school year, parents are expected to spend more on musical instruments ($267 vs. $194 in 2015) and mobile devices ($172 vs. $125 in 2015).
Overall, 78 percent of parents are opting to curb their own spending in order to afford their kids’ back-to-school expenses, with nearly 9-in-10 parents budgeting for their children.
“When looking at trending data on this topic from the past five years, 2016 is showing the largest year-over-year increase for back-to-school shopping,” said Jed Scala, Senior Vice President, Consumer Lending at American Express. “This may be attributed to an ever-evolving back-to-school shopping list and, perhaps, parents’ ability and willingness to spend more when it comes to education and extracurricular activities.”
Of those parents purchasing a cell phone for back-to-school, 73 percent said they will purchase a smartphone. Parents still say the average acceptable age for a cell phone remains at 12, consistent over the last three years.
While budgeting and spending limits are important to parents, 23 percent said they would still purchase clothing or a tech gadget if it exceeds their budget “because it’s an incentive for their kids to do well in school (said 59 percent, significantly down from 74 percent), or it’s an easier trade-off than arguing with their child (19 percent, significantly up from 3 percent in 2015).”

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