The reduction in back-to-school spending is closely tied to the overall rising cost of living in the U.S. and, specifically, high gas prices. When asked how the current state of the U.S. economy has impacted their lives, 25 percent of all those surveyed said it has impacted their lives a lot, while only 4 percent said not at all. Further, more than 20 percent of all those surveyed noted that they are spending less on back-to-school items specifically because of gas pricesÃƒÂ¢ - in fact, among parents who say they are cutting back this year, a staggering 92 percent say rising gas prices are affecting their back-to-school plans.
The impact of these cutbacks is detrimental for both students and the economy. Zoomerang's research found that 23 percent of students are feeling unprepared and 43 percent of students are feeling angry or embarrassed. Among parents, 38 percent actually reported feeling like smart shoppers due to their behavioral changes, but many are not so upbeat - 79 percent of those cutting back this year are buying fewer clothes for their children.
In response to tough economic times, 38 percent of people surveyed say they are driving less for back-to-school this year. Among those who indicated that they are cutting back, the numbers are even higher - 65 percent of parents and 59 percent of students in this group are driving less due to high gas prices. Interestingly, even those students who say they are not cutting back are still feeling the effects of tighter wallets - 48 percent of these students say the current state of the economy has somewhat impacted their lives and 62 percent say they are reducing the amount of gas they use.
The Zoomerang survey also explored how Americans are coping and found that parents and students alike are finding creative ways to save money. Among all those surveyed, 39 percent are shopping at discount stores this year - less than 10 percent of those surveyed will be shopping in high-end and designer stores. Even those who are not planning to cut back are still curbing their spending - 68 percent of parents who are not cutting back are still planning to shop at discount stores.
Additional back-to-school coping trends include:
- 18 percent of students are purchasing wholesale school items
Finally, Zoomerang found that new computers in particular may be passed up on back-to-school shopping trips this year's 68 percent of parents surveyed say the number of computers their family currently has is adequate and 81 percent of those students who are planning to spend the same or more on back-to-school this year indicate that they still are not planning to purchase a new computer.