Americans to spend more than $4.7 billion on graduation gifts


Graduation season is upon us and young adults across the country are preparing for the next step in their life, be it a new job or a new school.  These same graduates are very likely already thinking of what to do with the graduation gifts heading their way.

While it’s certainly not the biggest consumer spending season, the timeframe around graduation is still very big business for retailers large and small, and with more Millennials taking the stage these days, it should continue to grow. According to NRF’s Graduation Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, the average person buying graduation gifts will spend $97.79, and will shop for approximately two graduates. Total spending on gift cards, electronic items, apparel and other items will total $4.7 billion, the highest amount in the survey’s nine-year history.

Planned Spend On Graduation Gifts - In Billions Information
Only those who plan to purchase a gift for one or more graduates answered this question. Charts from the NRF Foundation’s Retail Insight Center. To access this data and more research please visit the Retail Insight Center.

Graduation for many is a rite of passage. High school graduates will look to mom and dad to stock their car full of new gadgets, apparel items and gift cards as they head off to college. College graduates are looking forward to their first big job, and with it their first “real world” paycheck.

To help smooth the transition, graduates’ loved ones this year will say “Congratulations” with a whole bunch of cash. The survey found most (56.8%) will give cash to the graduates they know. Nearly 40 percent will give a card and 12 percent will splurge on new apparel items for the lucky grads. Three in 10 will let the celebrant choose and will buy gift cards, and 8 percent will buy an electronic item.

The journey is just beginning for today’s Millennial. But friends and family will recognize their accomplishments thus far with gifts – and most importantly – cash.