Teen spending may save the holidays

This holiday season 62% of teens will spend at least $75 on gifts, an increase of 2% from a similar poll conducted last year. The poll also shows that 35% of the more than 1,000 teens surveyed said they plan to spend more this holiday season than they did last year.

These findings may help alleviate some of the concerns being experienced by retailers this holiday season after lower than expected retail sales in November, say Junior Achievement(JA), which conducted the poll. JA is an international organization dedicated to educating young people about business, economics, and free enterprise.

“Research shows that young people between the ages of 10 and 18 spend about $170 billion annually,” said Brad Kaufmann, vice president of JA Worldwide. “Because teens have this kind of purchasing power, JA believes it is important to educate young people to become better informed and responsible consumers.” The 2004 Junior Achievement Interprise Poll on Holiday Spending was conducted from Sept. 20 through Nov. 12, and includes 1,072 responses from teens aged 13 -19.

Broken down by age, 17-year-olds appear to be spending more than any other age group surveyed this holiday season, JA says. In all, 77% of 17-year-olds said they will spend more than $75 on gifts, followed by 18-year-olds (73%), 15- and 16-year-olds (54%) and finally 13- and 14-year-olds (38%). Based on gender, slightly more girls (36%) than boys (33%) expect to spend more on gifts this year.

Using a volunteer network, JA Worldwide provides in-school and after-school programs for students in grades K-12. JA Worldwide offers educational programs that focus on seven key content areas: business, citizenship, economics, entrepreneurship, ethics/character, financial literacy, and career development. JA has more than 140 offices that reach four million students in the United States, with more than two million students served by operations in 97 countries worldwide.