Back-To-School Technology: 'Must Haves' For Students, 'Financial Bane' For Parents

by Elliot Chan | Research

When I was growing up I had a hard time convincing my parents to buy me a binder and a set of pencil crayons for a new school year, even if all I had left was magenta, mauve and maroon.

So it is no surprise that in a recent survey done by, parents are still reluctant on spending the extra cash on inessentials, in another words, smartphones, tablets and other electronic devices—oh the growing pains.

The online survey conducted late last month showed that 60% of 500 parent respondents with children under 18 had clothing and footwear on the top of their shopping list and only 7% said electronics would be the top back-to-school product.

“We know kids are now using the back-to-school season as another opportunity to lobby for updated electronics,” said Josh Harding, vice president of global operations for RetailMeNot, Inc. “This is squeezing budgets even more. The good news is that electronics are highly competitive, so expect to find plenty of discounts both in-store and online.”

RELATED: How Technology Has Changed Back to School Season Forever

52% of parents said they would spend less than $250 on their daughters and 59% said they would spend less than that on their sons, while 16% are expected to spend over $400 on their children this coming season.

Most parents with both sons and daughters do not intend to play favourites, 63% are planning to spend the same amount on each, but 32% are expected to spend more on their daughters. 

Daughters tend to be more involved with back-to-school shopping decisions. 64% of parents said their daughters would participate, while less than 1% said their sons will get involved.

ALSO: 79% of Canadians to Shop Online for Back-to-School This Year

But when it comes to electronics, 51% of parents stated that their sons would favour technology over other back-to-school necessities. Girls on the other hand would choose fashion over electronics, 48% expect their daughters to opt for clothing over gadgets, while 35% would prefer the opposite.

As summer ends and parents begin wrangling their children back into the classrooms, new technology are playing a larger role in student’s lives. Although they have yet to reach the same stature of pencils and notebooks, technology devices are becoming more and more essential—maybe parents aren’t breaking the bank for new smartphone or tablet yet, but school tech is a trend that will consistently make wallet-conscious parents wary.   

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Elliot Chan

Elliot Chan

Elliot worked in the entertainment industry for four years before transitioning into professional writing and communications in 2012. He is the head of community content and strategy at Control, the digital manager for Asian Canadian literary publication Ricepaper Magazine, a content creator for Unhaggle, and the opinions editor at The Other Press. Elliot is a graduate of The Art Institute of... more

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