Ebates Back to School Survey: 75 Percent of American Parents Say Back-to-School Shopping Will Cause Tension Between Them and Their Teens

Survey Also Reveals That 81 Percent of Parents Will Take Advantage of Back-to-School Specials to Pick Up a Little Something For Themselves

SAN FRANCISCO--()--Brand name versus budget: in the battle of back to school, who will win? According to a new survey conducted on behalf of Ebates, a leader and pioneer in cash back shopping and subsidiary of the global internet services company Rakuten, this question causes parents and teens a lot of stress during the back-to-school shopping season. The survey also revealed where parents will be doing their shopping and how much they plan to spend.

The national survey, conducted online by Propeller Insights on behalf of Ebates in June 2018, was fielded among 1,001 U.S. parents and 500 U.S. teens.

Parents and Teens Dread BTS Shopping

Shopping may well be a beloved American pastime, but parents and teens have more complicated feelings about the back-to-school shopping season.

A majority of American parents (75 percent) and teens (73 percent) say back-to-school shopping causes tension, with the question of whether to go budget or name brand being a major stressor.

Teens complain that parents:

  • Wait until the last minute to do the shopping (20 percent)
  • Insist on buying the budget item instead of the name brand (15 percent)
  • Rush through the stores (10 percent)

Parents complain that teens:

  • Want the name brand when they can only afford the budget item (17 percent)
  • Want to make too many impulse purchases (16 percent)
  • Fail to agree on a budget (11 percent)

Perhaps this is why most American parents (81 percent) and teens (72 percent) say they actually dread back-to-school shopping. Parents most dread shopping for clothing and shoes (50 percent), while teens most dread shopping for school supplies (30 percent).

Clothing Tops BTS Shopping List

Interestingly, these are also the items at the top of their shopping lists:

Which of the following essential back-to-school purchases are at the top of your shopping list?
Parents Teens
Clothing and shoes — 92 percent School supplies — 90 percent
School supplies — 88 percent Clothing and shoes — 81 percent
Backpack or school bag — 75 percent Backpack or school bag — 61 percent
Lunchbox — 35 percent Textbooks — 35 percent
Electronics — 32 percent Electronics — 26 percent

Both parents (82 percent) and teens (68 percent) expect to spend the most money on clothing and shoes.

“Our Back to School survey found that shopping for back-to-school clothing is a big priority for parents and teens and also a big pain point,” said Amit Patel, CEO of Ebates. “Ebates helps alleviate the tension by offering cash back, great deals and one-stop shopping for your back-to-school shopping needs. Ebates is the one-stop shop for everything from clothing to shoes to every other thing kids need for the new school year. With more than 2,000 retailers offering promotions and cash back, it’s easier than ever to stay within your budget while skipping the mall lines—and a lot of the stress.”

Back to School Extras? Yes, Please!

Once the back-to-school essentials are in hand, both parents and teens hope to make some additional purchases—particularly electronics:

Which of the following additional items do you plan to purchase for back to school?
Parents Teens
Accessories — 50 percent Headphones — 52 percent
Headphones — 40 percent Accessories — 50 percent
Laptop — 25 percent Sporting goods — 26 percent
Sporting goods — 24 percent Laptop — 21 percent
iPad or other tablet — 21 percent Cell phone — 16 percent

A majority (81 percent) of American parents admit they will likely take advantage of back-to-school specials to treat themselves to a purchase.

Where, How and How Much Parents Will Spend on BTS

American parents will not be wasting any time window shopping this back-to-school season: 81 percent plan to get all of their shopping done at four or fewer stores.

How much do parents plan to spend getting ready for back to school?

  • Less than $100 — 13 percent
  • $100-$300 — 38 percent
  • $300-$500 — 28 percent
  • More than $500 — 22 percent

However, teens think their parents will be spending much less: 35 percent think their parents will spend $100 or less, but 88 percent of parents will spend more and only 24 percent think their parents will spend more than $300, but 50 percent of parents will spend at least that.

From now through August, back-to-school shoppers can receive up to double cash back on select retailers via Ebates. For more details on specific retailers participating in the special offer, visit Ebates.com. Shoppers can also download the free Ebates Browser Extension button for Google Chrome, Firefox and Microsoft Edge or the free Ebates.com app at Google Play and the AppStore.

About Ebates

Ebates rewards members with cash back on purchases while also providing access to thousands of coupons, discounts, promotions and special deals, including free shipping. Free membership allows consumers to shop online at over 2,000 of their favorite top-name retailers while earning a percentage of every purchase they make. To date, Ebates members have earned nearly $1 billion, paid out quarterly in the form of a “Big Fat Check” or via PayPal. Because shopping with Ebates is hassle-free—no rebate forms to fill out and no points or miles to redeem—the site supports a strong community of savvy shoppers across the country and around the world. Founded in 1998 and acquired by Rakuten, Inc. in 2014, Ebates is headquartered in San Francisco.


Alessandra Nagy, 714-310-4439


Alessandra Nagy, 714-310-4439