Could It Be? Frugality Is a Fall Fashion for Kids?

Money does not grow on trees. That’s a lesson that today’s young shoppers seem to have learned from their recession-scarred parents.

Thrift rocks this year, with teens picking up bargain-hunting habits from their recession-scarred parents, according to media reports and consumer studies.

“Today’s kids recycle more clothes from the previous school year, mixing and matching the old with the new for different looks,” The Associated Press reported. “They also shop year-round for things they need so they’re spending less money this time of year.”

The AP’s findings came in part from reports by Deloitte LLP business consulting, which surveyed more than 1,000 consumers. Deloitte found that parents of children from kindergarten through high school plan to spend $434 on back-to-school items this year — a 20 percent decline. That includes 39 percent who said they will reuse last year’s items instead of buying new, up from 26 percent five years ago.

“After several back-to-school seasons of spending frugally and taking advantage of season-long discounts, shoppers may need more encouragement and excitement to expand their children’s wardrobes or replenish additional items,” said Alison Paul, Deloitte’s vice chairman and retail and distribution sector leader. “Retailers will not only have to make offers very attractive this season, but they will have to score an A+ on unique, exclusive merchandise and services that nobody else can offer.”

The AP followed teens into stores and found their shopping behavior is an extension of how their parents learned to shop since 2008, when retailers pushed discounts to entice people to buy during the downturn.

“I think I buy on sale because my mom never buys something unless it’s on sale,” Arianna Schaden, 14, told a reporter after she passed on buying a $58 romper she liked at Roosevelt Field mall in Garden City, New York.

The Deloitte study also found:

  • Discount/value department stores remain the top shopping destination, but online continues to increase and now is the second-most popular shopping environment for parents of K-12 children – and third place for parents of college students.
  • More people may take their time to finish their shopping lists, as nearly 1 of 3 plan to complete their back-to-school shopping after the start of the school year.
  • The impact of social media on the back-to-school selling season continues to decrease, and the vast majority are not intending to use it for shopping assistance.

Have you changed your shopping habits as a direct result of the Recession or as the result of its impact on your parents? Share with us in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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