It's that time again when moms flood the aisles of retailers to complete back-to-school shopping. In cities and towns everywhere, moms will be making the annual trek to stores to buy clothes, shoes, backpacks and everything that goes in them. However, according to a recent Marketing to Moms Coalition study, Mom's budget is tighter than last year with an expected decrease in spending per child of 10% for kids 7-12 and 12% for teenagers 13-17 compared to last year.
As spending levels decrease, school volunteering is increasing. More than 90% of moms with kids aged 7-17 say they will have the same or greater involvement in their child's school this year. Many parents want to be involved and help as much as they can. As school systems face cutbacks, moms are stepping up by giving their time to help their children's education.
The research shows that families are still cautious about buying and are sticking to essentials for their kids. Across age brackets, spending on school supplies, electronics like calculators, and school activities will likely remain flat this year, with the biggest cutback coming in clothing. Among Moms of 7-12 year olds, half (50%) say they will spend less than $100 on clothing -- a 10% increase from 2009.
Marketers seem to be appealing to the frugalista side of moms by offering discounts earlier in the season. Many regional and national children's clothing retailers are already offering discounts of 40% or more.
Is there good news for retailers? Of course there is. Even though spending is expected to decrease, the amount of supplies for each child in a household will still average $440. In the average household of two or three children, $880+ is still worth attention.
Retailers can attract Moms to spend that money in their stores by paying attention to shopping habits of Moms, reflected largely in the coalition study:
- Frugalista Moms are alive and well. These Moms love discounts and deals, and will spread the word on media channels like Twitter, Facebook and, of course, blogs.
- Offer coupons and discounts that are clear and easy to use. Moms need to get the shopping done fast! It is still summer, after all.
- Make it easy. Moms will use technology to find the best deals before they leave the house. Whether it's scouring popular coupon blogs, visiting a retailer website, or using mobile phone apps to find the best deals, Moms will save time (especially if kids are in tow) by doing the research first and making specific trips for the best prices.
- As has been the trend in recent years, moms plan to do most of their shopping in retail stores versus online. Online shopping for back to school has been trending down among moms for the past four years, according to Marketing to Moms Coalition reports.
- Benefit programs that direct money to schools are more important than ever. The same shrinking household spending is echoed in shrinking school budgets. If a Mom can purchase school supplies that are needed anyway, with a percentage of the total benefitting the school of choice, why wouldn't she choose the store that will donate money to her children's school?
- On the lighter side, more than 80% of Moms surveyed reported that they will be happy when the first school bell rings this year.
Whether parents cheer or jeer at the end of summer, the retailers who pay attention to these trends, offer money-saving deals and let Moms help their school will gain the business of the household CFO and build valuable brand and store loyalty in the process.