Parents Spend More on Back-to-School Shopping Than They Do During the Holiday Season

Back-to-school is the new black (Friday).
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profile picture of Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
August 20, 2019
dad walking with daughter to school
Image: iStock

By the end of summer break, parents are more than ready to get their kiddos back into a school routine (this mom has the right idea!). What they’re not ready for, however, is how much they’ll spend stocking up their children on a back-to-school wardrobe. After surveying hundreds of parents across the US, thredUP, the world’s largest online retailer, found the majority of parents spend more on shopping for their kids’ back-to-school season then they spend during the holiday season. And that includes Black Friday—the biggest shopping day of the year.

Specifically, 62 percent of parents spend more on apparel and accessories for BTS shopping than they do during the holiday season. Plus, the majority say their BTS shopping ends up adding up to more than what they buy for their child on Black Friday or birthday presents. On average, parents surveyed say they buy about 19 items per child, and spend $24 per item. That’s about $460 per child. If every family in the US does this, that would mean there are a total of 4.6 million fall clothes and accessories being purchased for children every season.

Your wallet is probably feeling a bit lighter right about now, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Recently, we’ve seen the traditional retail market turned upside down. Second-hand shops and online rental stores are having a big moment. For parents, this means it’s easier to dress your kids with style and savings in mind. Online resellers, like thredUp, can save parents up to 90 percent off retail prices, essentially putting money back in their bank accounts. Not only do you save financially, but it also helps to cut back on waste in the environment.

Although 53 percent of parents say they haven’t historically made eco-conscious shopping decisions for BTS, 71 percent now think it’s important to shop more sustainably. Think about it: 4.6 million new items purchased means 36.3 billion lbs of C02 emissions. Yikes!

But if everyone bought just one used item instead of new this year, it could save 5.7 lbs of CO2 emissions—equivalent to half a million cars taken off the road for a year; 11B kWh of energy—equivalent to lighting up the Eiffel Tower for 141 years; 25 billion gallons of water—equivalent to filling up 1,140 Bellagio fountains; and 449 million lbs of waste—equivalent to the weight of 1 million polar bears.

Visit to learn more on how you can make some bank by reselling your kids’ clothing, and help save the environment at the same time. Win-win.

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