NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Back-to-school shopping goes far beyond giving kids the supplies they need to hit the ground running when school doors open. It's also a useful study on what parents believe kids need to succeed not just in the classroom, but in life.
With more and more data coming out on what parents prioritize in their school shopping budgets, the evidence is growing that mom and dad view back-to-school shopping as a way to separate their children from the pack and vault them up the line academically so they can snag a good college and an even better career.
The most recent American Express (AXP) Spending & Savings Tracker, released Thursday, is chock full of expensive technology previous generation of parents wouldn't recognize -- and arguably wouldn't have paid for if they did.
Start with the average amount of cash parents are spending on back-to-school shopping this year. American Express pegs that at $1,094 -- up from $867 last year. Even given the rate of inflation, a relatively low 2%, spending more than $1,000 on back-to-school supplies is a lot (and helps show why the school shopping season is second only to the Christmas holidays in consumer spending.)Helping bump up that amount: Consumer electronic devices are up across the board this year in terms of spending percentiles, American Express says:
- Laptops (25% this year vs. 15% last year)
- Scientific calculators (18% this year vs. 15% last year)
- Tablet computers (15% this year vs. 7% last year)
- Mobile phones (13% this year vs. 12% last year)
- e-readers (7% this year vs. 4% last year)
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