Survey: Prom spending drops

Foster City, Calif. - American households with teens are reining in prom spending in 2014. According to a new survey of 4,000 consumers by Visa, the American average household will spend $978 in 2014 on the prom.

That's down more than 14% from the average $1,139 families spent on items including attire, limousine rental, tickets, and dinner in 2013. The sharp decrease follows three years of steady increases. By way of comparison, Canadian households will spend about 25% less than American households, at $723.

Despite the drop this year, prom spending still remains disproportionately high and represents a major expense for American families with high school students. Visa is introducing a new, updated free smartphone app that helps parents and teenagers plan and budget every aspect of the prom.

Parents who earn less than $50,000 a year plan to spend significantly less than the national average, $733, while parents who make more than $50,000 will spend an average of $1,151. Parents younger than 40 years of age plan to spend almost 30% more than parents older than the age of 40 at $1,074, compared to $842. In addition, men plan to spend $1,357, more than double the $673 women plan to spend.

The Visa survey also found that parents are planning to pay for 56% of prom costs, while their teens are covering the remaining 44%. Visa's prom survey also revealed some regional and economic disparities. States on the West Coast led the nation, spending even more than they did last year. The Midwest, once again, is spending the least, although they too are spending more than last year. The Northeast saw a 27% reduction in spending and the South a 23% drop, when compared with 2013. Regionally, the survey found:

• Western families will spend an average of $1,125
• Northeastern families will spend an average of $1,104
• Southern families will spend an average of $926
• Midwestern families will spend an average of $835

“It is no secret that merchants increasingly want a user experience that parallels that of a consumer electronics device,” said Bill Nelson, executive VP of global product management for VeriFone. “The VX 690 achieves this goal while providing 3G connectivity that is critical in many markets where 2G networks are transitioning to 3G. The user experience of the terminal combined with its robustness, flexibility, and technical communication capabilities will not only enable payments today — it will enable commerce tomorrow.”

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