Back to School Shopping – and Selling


Tim J. Smith, PhD
Founder and CEO, Wiglaf Pricing

Published August 11, 2011

The higher spending demographic isn’t who you think

According to Ypulse research, teens and college age men spend more per shopping trip than young women ($94 vs. $81)? That’s because guys want to get in and out of stores fast, and avoid shopping for a while. Women enjoy the process, shop more often, and spend more monthly ($137 vs. $99) than guys.

Interestingly, white students spend the least on fashion ($81.41 per trip), Black ($91.51) and Hispanic ($98.20) students spend the most per trip, while Asians spend the most per month ($140.97).

When It Comes To Teen Fashion – Mother Knows Best

Students are getting ready to go back to school, and their moms are helping them decide what to wear. Even if mom doesn’t accompany her kids to the store, she definitely has input. Teens know if she doesn’t approve their purchases, the items are going straight back to the store.

“For high school students in particular, mom is the style gatekeeper. Not only does she hold the purse strings, she also won’t let her child out of the house if she doesn’t think his or her outfit is appropriate,” said Melanie Shreffler, editor-in-chief, Ypulse, the leading authority on youth culture and markets.

Nearly one in five high school and college students (18%) prefer shopping with their moms to anyone else, including their friends, according to a recent Ypulse survey. The bond between high school girls and their moms is strongest, with 33% preferring to shop with mom.

“Why do they like shopping with mom so much? Sure, they like that she pays for things, but also that she gives them an honest opinion,” said Ypulse’s Ms. Shreffler.

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About The Author

Tim J. Smith, PhD, is the founder and CEO of Wiglaf Pricing, an Adjunct Professor of Marketing and Economics at DePaul University, and the author of Pricing Done Right (Wiley 2016) and Pricing Strategy (Cengage 2012). At Wiglaf Pricing, Tim leads client engagements. Smith’s popular business book, Pricing Done Right: The Pricing Framework Proven Successful by the World’s Most Profitable Companies, was noted by Dennis Stone, CEO of Overhead Door Corp, as "Essential reading… While many books cover the concepts of pricing, Pricing Done Right goes the additional step of applying the concepts in the real world." Tim’s textbook, Pricing Strategy: Setting Price Levels, Managing Price Discounts, & Establishing Price Structures, has been described by independent reviewers as “the most comprehensive pricing strategy book” on the market. As well as serving as the Academic Advisor to the Professional Pricing Society’s Certified Pricing Professional program, Tim is a member of the American Marketing Association and American Physical Society. He holds a BS in Physics and Chemistry from Southern Methodist University, a BA in Mathematics from Southern Methodist University, a PhD in Physical Chemistry from the University of Chicago, and an MBA with high honors in Strategy and Marketing from the University of Chicago GSB.