Survey Shows Moms Spending Less on Back-to-School This Year Due to the Economy - Dads Are More Confident Helps Parents Stretch their Dollars During Back-to-School Season with School-Specific Stores for all Class Levels

Jul 27, 2011, 12:00 ET from

ALISO VIEJO, Calif., July 27, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- According to a new survey(1) conducted by independent research firm Toluna and released today by®, 40 percent of moms are planning to spend the minimum for back-to-school season, citing a tough economy as the reason to buy less.  While all parents are cautious about spending this year, the survey also found that the majority (63 percent) of parents are excited about back-to-school shopping, with one third saying they love school supplies and this is their favorite time of year.

The survey of more than 350 parents found that one unlikely group is bucking the minimal spending trend – dads. While dads traditionally dislike shopping and 36 percent consider back-to-school shopping a "necessary evil," kids may want to encourage dad to go back-to-school shopping, since 22 percent of dads plan to spend more this year, with an average planned spend of $210 for dads vs. $171 for moms. 

Back-to-school shopping is in full swing - the survey found that one third of parents who consider themselves early-bird shoppers have already started. The majority of parents (58 percent) consider themselves middle-of-the-pack, starting a few weeks before school begins, and another 11 percent of parents wait until the last minute and squeeze it in days before the first day of school.  Additional findings from the survey include:

  • Wallets are Thin: The majority of parents (82 percent) will be spending the same or less than last year on back-to-school shopping, leaving only 18 percent spending more than previous years.
  • Clothes Preferred over Supplies: More than half (52 percent) of moms are most excited about picking out clothing and shoes, as opposed to the basic school supplies (25 percent), backpacks/lunchboxes (11 percent), art equipment (10 percent) or electronics (three percent).
  • Dreaded Time of Year: A third (28 percent) of parents referred to back-to-school shopping as a "necessary evil," and 10 percent said, "I'd rather be doing anything else."

"Whether parents love back-to-school shopping or it is just something they have to do, we try to make the process as painless and easy as possible," said Neel Grover, CEO and president of "We designed our back-to-school store for all parents, teachers and students, making it simple and convenient to find everything they need for elementary school students to college students, without having to leave the comfort of home."

The back-to-school store is a one-stop online destination, offering specific school-related sections for all ages including:

  • Elementary School Fun: With 43 percent of parents and nearly half of moms (49 percent) planning to spend the most on elementary school students this year, makes it easier than ever to find everything they need in the "Elementary School" store, including crayons, markers, erasers and more.
  • Middle School Rocks: The first day of middle school can be overwhelming for students, but makes shopping fun with plenty of deals in the "Middle School" store, which features a selection of binders, folders, backpacks and dictionaries.
  • High School Forever: A third of dads plan to spend the most on high school students this year - helps make life easier with the "High School" store, featuring necessities from scientific calculators to flash and hard drives and more.
  • College Cool: As a testament to parents believing their children are ready to leave the nest, only one in 10 respondents plans to spend the most on college students this year. makes it easy to save money in the new "College" store featuring an array of gadgets and electronics at low prices even college students can afford.
  • For the Love of Teachers: For the catalyst of the classroom - teachers - offers an entire "Teachers" store featuring maps, bookshelves, dry erase markers and more.

For additional back-to-school savings, offers the industry's best shipping and return offers with no minimum purchases for free shipping on more than 2.6 million products and millions of other products shipped for free on orders above $25. Delivering peace-of-mind for purchases, also offers 45 days for product returns (longer than the 30-day industry standard policy) with no restocking fees, ensuring consumers find the products they want.

For special promotions and to start shopping now, visit the back-to-school store at  


With more than 18 million customers, is a leading retail marketplace, focused on providing its customers with a great shopping experience and a broad selection of retail goods at everyday low prices. offers millions of products in a range of categories, including consumer electronics, computer hardware and software, cell phones, books, music, DVDs, games, toys, bags, fragrance, home and outdoor, baby, jewelry, shoes, apparel and sporting goods. Founded in June 1997, is headquartered in Aliso Viejo, Calif. is owned by Rakuten, Japan's leading Internet Company. Together, Rakuten and represent one of the world's largest online retail marketplaces, offering consumers more than 70 million products from more than 35,000 merchants around the globe.® and The Internet Superstore™ are trademarks of Inc.

About Rakuten

Rakuten, Inc. (JASDAQ: 4755), is one of the world's leading Internet service companies, providing a variety of consumer and business-focused services including e-commerce, travel, banking, securities, credit card, e-money, portal & media, online marketing and professional sports. Rakuten is expanding globally and currently has operations throughout Asia, Western Europe and North America.  Founded in 1997, Rakuten is headquartered in Tokyo, generating $36 billion in annual gross transaction volume, and has more than 10,000 employees worldwide. For more information, visit

(1) Survey methodology

Toluna, Inc. fielded the study on behalf of on July 18, 2011 via its online omnibus service, interviewing a nationwide sample of 352 adults aged 18 years and older.  Data were weighted using propensity score weighting to be representative of the total U.S. adult population on the basis of region, age within gender, education, household income, race/ethnicity, and propensity to be online.  Data for questions related to online use or behaviors were weighted specifically to the respective "online" populations.  No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated; a full methodology is available.