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Back To School Shopping – The Main Challenge Is Funding Fashion

Fraser Valley/San Francisco (Ebates) – While this is an American Study, take a hard look. It really isn’t far off the mark for Canadian parents shopping for back to school items for their kids:

New research shows one in three Americans have already started their back to school shopping – and it’s causing major stress.

That’s because one of the big ticket items is Back To School Fashion.

70 percent of teens say that shopping with their folks is the most stressful part of returning back to school – and parents agree:


·         Parents actually stress out more than the kids—when asked what stresses them out most about shopping with their kids, (80%) agreed that clothing was the most stressful, followed by shoes (66%) and backpacks (44%).

·         Kids are embarrassed of their parents’ taste—whether it’s the clothes (70%) or the shoes (46%), teens fear the “horrible fashion” decisions their parents are making on their behalf.

·         Style isn’t the only headache, THE BUDGET— besides actually agreeing with their kids, which (43%) found to be very time consuming, not being able to afford everything is the biggest stressor (58%).  Making online sales a top priority this season.

Back to school budget is important this year with the International Council of Shopping Centers reporting that 70 percent of shoppers plan to spend more on back to school than last year.

Parents and teens don’t always see eye-to-eye, and when it comes to the back to school season, both sides agree they’d rather not be clothes shopping with each other. According to a new survey conducted on behalf of Ebates, a pioneer and leader in online cash back shopping, a majority of parents (84 percent) and teens (70 percent) surveyed find clothes shopping to be the least pleasant task they must undertake together in preparation for back to school.

The national survey conducted online by on behalf of Ebates in June 2015 was fielded among 1,014 adults and 507 teens. Parents and teens were of one mind, not only about clothing, but also about the other most-dreaded back to school shopping tasks, which include finding shoes, backpacks, and computers:

Most Stressful Back to School Shopping Items for Adults

Percent of Americans Who Said This

Most Stressful Back to School Shopping Items for Teens

Percent of American Teens Who Said This

1.       Clothing

  84 percent

1.       Clothing

70 percent

2.       Shoes

  66 percent

2.       Shoes

46 percent

3.       Backpack

  41 percent

3.       Backpack

36 percent

4.       Laptop

  28 percent

4.       Laptop

25 percent

5.       Accessories

  29 percent

5.       Accessories

24 percent

“I am picky and [my parents] often suggest things I don’t like, which makes us both mad”

Survey respondents elaborated on why the parent-teen back to school shopping experience is likely to cause stress. Both parties attribute stress to difference of opinion and pained negotiations, with parents citing stressors such as: “My son is so picky” or “Having to negotiate what [my daughter] can and cannot wear to school.”  Echoing the sentiment of many, one mother bemoaned her impulse to “purchase clothes I know won’t be worn.” Teens, on the flip side of the same predicament, blamed parents, saying: “My parents don’t agree with what I want,” “I am picky and [my parents] often suggest things I don’t like, which makes us both mad,” and “One of my parents can’t afford [what I want], and the other refuses to buy it.”

Neither Parents nor Teens Wish to Break the Bank

While both parents and teens dislike shopping together, they also share a mutual concern for the financial strain that back to school shopping is likely to bring. The Ebates survey showed that 58 percent of parents worry that they will not have enough money to buy everything their kids need for back to school and 45 percent of their kids share this concern, which outweighs either party’s concern about being able to agree on the necessary clothing and accessories.

Many teens voiced concern over negatively impacting their parents’ finances, saying things like “I don’t want my parents to spend a lot of money” and “I’ll pressure [my parents] into spending lots of money.”

Beyond finances, other top stressors around the more general back to school shopping experience include such things as “not being able to find the right size” and a distaste for lines and busy malls. Shockingly few teens (only 18 percent!) expressed concern about looking “cool” on the first day of school:

General Back to School Stressors for Adults

Percent of Americans Who Said This

General Back to School Stressors for Teens

Percent of American Teens Who Said This

1.       I can’t afford everything

  58 percent

1. My parents can’t afford what I want

45 percent

2.       I won’t agree with my kids on necessary items

45 percent

2. My parents don’t agree with what I want

46 percent

3.       I can’t find the right sizes or styles

  42 percent

3. I won’t be able to find the right styles

41 percent

4.       I don’t want to stand in line or brave the malls

  27 percent

4. My parents don’t have time to take me shopping

22 percent

The Ebates survey also revealed that more than 1 in 4 parents are dreading the mall frenzy and long lines at brick-and-mortars.

“For the second year in a row, our annual back to school survey shows that back to school shopping at malls causes stress for both parents and teens,” said Kevin H. Johnson, CEO of Ebates Inc. “At Ebates, we want to minimize the stress and concerns shoppers are faced with, making their shopping experience as easy and affordable as possible. Back to school shoppers can use to find the best deals at over 1,800 retailers and to purchase all the hot items on their shopping list in time for the first day of school, AND earn cash back in the process.”

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