A new survey shows parents care more about sending their kids back to the classroom with expensive threads than devices.

After learning from home for more than a year, parents want their kids to look and feel special when they head back to school.

Debt.com’s latest survey on back-to-school shopping reveals more than 6 in 10 parents will spend most on clothes this season. Less than 1 in 4 said they’ll use most of their budget on technology like laptops and other devices. Only 18 percent said traditional school supplies – backpacks and binders – will eat up their back-to-school budget.

“Parents spent a year sheltering at home, and their children spent a year learning at home,” says Debt.com chairman Howard Dvorkin. “We bought technology products last year to get us through daily Zoom meetings. Meanwhile, we either wore out or mothballed our clothing. So for once, we already own the latest tech but not the latest fashions.”

The majority of parents surveyed told Debt.com they plan to spend $200 more this shopping season than in 2019, before the pandemic.

Below are the most fascinating results of Debt.com’s 2021 Back-to-School shopping survey.

More than 2 out of 3 parents surveyed have at least one child going back to school


1 out of 3 parents surveyed will spend more than $200 per kid going back to school



More than half of parents with kid(s) back to school plan to spend more this year than 2019, before the pandemic hit



1 out of 3 parents surveyed will spend more than $200


Of parents who will spend more this year, 3 out of 5 say clothing will eat up most of their budget



Do you have children going back-to-school this year? Percentage of respondents
Yes 57.14%
No 42.86%
How many children do you have in grades 1 through 8? Percentage of respondents
None 32.48%
One 43.16%
Two 17.52%
3 or more 6.84%
How many children do you have in grades 9 through 12? Percentage of respondents
None 52.36%
One 40.77%
Two 6.44%
Three or more 0.43%
How much are you planning to spend per child on back-to-school shopping this summer? Percentage of respondents
Nothing 3.10%
$50 or less 10.18%
$51 to $100 23.89%
$101 to $150 17.70%
$151 to $200 16.37%
More than $200 28.76%
Will you spend more this year than you did in 2019, before the pandemic hit? Percentage of respondents
Yes 52.44%
No 47.56%
If yes, how much more will you spend this year compared to 2019, before the pandemic? Percentage of respondents
$50 or less 9.65%
$51 to $100 29.82%
$101 to $150 21.93%
$151 to $200 7.89%
More than $200 30.70%
What will you spend the most on? Percentage of respondents
Clothing. I want my kid to feel and look special after a year learning at home. 60.53%
Technology. My kid needs the latest laptop, tablet or smartphone. 21.93%
Traditional school supplies like backpacks, trapper keepers, etc. 17.54%
What will you do if schools don’t reopen? Percentage of respondents
Quit a job 9.29%
Cut back on work hours 21.51%
Ask to work from home 25.13%
Already home-schooled or stay-at-home parent 44.06%
What % of income will you lose? Percentage of respondents
0-10% 45.48%
11-20% 11.41%
21-30% 12.27%
31-40% 8.86%
41-50% 15.30%
51% or more 13.29%
If your kid(s) go back, how worried are you for their health? Percentage of respondents
Not worried at all 9.35%
A little bit worried 17.35%
Modertately worried 23.47%
Verry worrited 49.83%
Are you…? Percentage of respondents
Married 63.33%
Single 23.94%
Co-parenting 8.94%
Other 4.24%
If schools operate remotely, how will handle childcare? Percentage of respondents
I’ll stay at home with my kids 64.22%
A relative or family friend will stay home with my kids 18.40%
My partner or ex will stay home with my kids 13.63%
I’ll send my kids to some kind of daycare, if it’s open 3.75%
What’s your average household income? Percentage of respondents
Less than $20,000 20.44%
$20,000 to $34,999 19.25%
$35,000 to $49,999 16.18
$50,000 to $74,999 18.23%
$75,000 to $99,999 11.93%
$100,000 or more 13.97%

Methodology: Debt.com surveyed 413 people and asked seven questions about how much they plan to spend on back-to-school shopping this year. People responded from all 50 states and Washington, DC and were aged 18 and above. Responses were collected through SurveyMonkey. The survey was conducted from July 30, 2021, to August 12, 2021.