New Report from Zulily Reveals 55% of Parents Find School Shopping More Stressful Than the Holiday Season

From tightening budgets to peer pressure, Zulily’s inaugural Back-to-School Pressures & Stressors Report identifies key back-to-school pain points and how moms can navigate them

Seattle Washington, UNITED STATES

SEATTLE, July 12, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The back-to-school season marks new beginnings and excitement for kids, but as the prices of essential goods continues to rise, moms are under increased pressure to find ways to save on back-to-school shopping. To better understand the key pain points associated with the back-to-school and college season, online retailer Zulily today released its 2023 Back-to-School Pressures & Stressors Report, helping moms save money and reduce the chore of shopping.

More than 85 million moms in the U.S. hold the purse strings when it comes to household spending, controlling 85% of their family’s purchases with a spending power of $2.4 trillion.1 But such purchasing power comes with immense stress, especially as they prepare their families for the new school year. In fact, U.S. consumers spent an average of $661 per child and $36.9 billion in total on back-to-school purchases last year.2 It all adds up, given 55% of parents agree school shopping is more stressful than the holidays.

“Every day, moms are faced with endless to-do lists, mounting societal pressure, and tight budgets as the cost of essentials have become more expensive. As the new school year approaches, that stress multiples,” said Denise Jaeschke, Chief Marketing Officer at Zulily. “By providing a shopping experience that maximizes mom’s time and savings, we’re able to help her navigate pain points, reduce stress and feel prepared for the new school year.”

To better understand the stress behind back-to-school, Zulily’s 2023 Back-to-School Pressures & Stressors Report outlines the top seven pressures that accompany the upcoming school year. Among them:

  1. From Changing Room to War Zone: 81% of parents have gotten into an argument over the price (49%), style (35%), or brand (26%) of a back-to-school item.
  2. Generation Inflation: 29% only feel comfortable spending $26-$50 for a back-to-school item, but kids often ask for items that are outside parents' budgets, averaging a pricey $143 per item.
  3. Keeping Up With The Joneses: More than 4 in 5 (83%) agree kids are under way more pressure with fashion trends, whether they want to fit in (40%) or avoid bullies (20%).
  4. Dad’s Feeling The Heat, Too: Dads feel more pressure to purchase back-to-school items that other kids or parents would envy — 82%, compared to just 70% of moms.
  5. Kids are Becoming Expert Negotiators: More than 9 in 10 parents (91%) admit kids can come up with some pretty persuasive arguments when they want an expensive item for school.
  6. Never-Ending Growth Spurts: 72% say their kid has outgrown a favorite clothing item and then thrown a fit when it was no longer available in the next size up, causing parents to buy in bulk.
  7. Back-to-College Blues: More than 4 in 5 parents (81%) agree they have a duty to make sure their kids have a comfortable home even when they move out.

When it comes to getting ahead of these seven back-to-school stressors, parents say the early bird gets the worm. Fifty percent of moms begin back-to-school shopping at the start of summer break, or a few months before school starts. By shopping early, setting a back-to-school budget and aligning on the essentials ahead of rush hour, moms can stay on top of higher prices and give their kids the brands they love, without breaking the bank.

To help moms get a head start on savings, Zulily opened its virtual Back-to-School Shop in mid-June — earlier than ever before — with up to 65% off top brands kids love like Bentgo, Billabong, True Religion, TOMS, and more. Plus, limited-time deals are launched on and Zulily’s mobile app daily, further helping moms reduce the chore of shopping, get a win for their wallet, and ensure the entire family goes back to school in style.

Download the full 2023 Back-to-School Pressures & Stressors Report here and visit Zulily’s blog, ​The Find, to learn more about how parents can come out on top this school year.

1 Source: Forbes, Meet The Company Decoding How To Market To Millennial Moms, (2017).
2 Source: Deloitte, 2022 Deloitte Back-To-School Survey, (2022).

Methodology: Findings are based on a survey conducted by Wakefield Research among 2,000 nationally representative parents of kids ages 4-12, between April 25th and May 7th, 2023, using an email invitation and an online survey. Data has been weighted.

About Zulily®
Zulily is an online superstore committed to delivering a fun shopping experience for moms everywhere, without breaking the bank. Through exclusive daily deals, brand names and on-trend styles, and everyday value on a wide selection of daily essentials across clothing, footwear, homewares and more, Zulily helps moms discover great deals, create special moments for the family, and find the perfect unique items, guilt-free. At Zulily, shopping is a little different, a little better, and a lot more fun. 
Zulily is headquartered in Seattle, Washington, with locations in Nevada, Ohio, and China. With expertise in technology, merchandising, creative production, logistics, marketing, customer service, and more, Zulily team members work together to deliver a different kind of shopping experience for moms — one that's built on fun, discovery, and whimsy. For more information visit,  or  The Find by Zulily, or follow @Zulily on  Facebook,  Instagram,  Pinterest  or Twitter. For vendors interested in selling on Zulily, visit