Graduation Spending to Hit New High

Consumers are set to spend more than ever on graduation gifts this year, according to the National Retail Federation.

April 6, 2018

Graduation Spending to Hit New High

Total spending for commencement gifts is expected to top at $5.6 billion.


The findings are part of an annual graduation spending survey conducted with Prosper Insights and Analytics.

Total spending is expected to reach $5.6 billion, the highest in the survey’s 11-history and topping last year’s previous record of $5.4 billion.

According to the survey, consumers ages 18-24 are the most likely give a gift to graduates (48 percent); however, they maintain the smallest budgets at $78.42. The biggest spending is likely to come from consumers in the parent-age bracket, ages 45-54, at $119.84 as well as those in the grandparent-age bracket of 65+, who plan to spend an average of $112.34.

Furthermore, cash will be the most popular gift, given by 53 percent of those surveyed. However, cash gifting is at a survey low, dropping about 10 percent from highs recorded in 2007 and 2009. Greeting cards follow at 41 percent, gift cards at 33 percent, apparel at 16

percent and electronics at 11 percent.

“This graduation season we are seeing more young Millennials giving gifts to their peers,” says Pam Goodfellow, principal analyst, Prosper. “While greeting cards are most likely to be exchanged among 18-24-year-old, gift cards, cash, and apparel are other popular options. In fact, this group is nearly twice as likely to gift clothing than the overall average.”

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