According to Spotlight on Kids: Understanding Cross-Category Purchasing: Data from July 2010 – Back To School, a consumer tracking study conducted by The NPD Group, of the total dollars spent on kids in July 2010, 49% was spent on items specifically requested by the children.

Most of the dollars spent on music, sporting goods and video games were on products requested by the child, with girls being more likely to request apparel and books, and boys to ask for sporting goods and video games.

With the dog days of summer and the back-to-school shopping season beginning in July, the largest share of spending on kids came from Apparel (20%) and Footwear (13%). Toys (8%) and Video Game Consoles (7%), with more than half of purchases being driven by a particular occasion such as a “birthdays” and “needed for school”.

“Purchases for kids are a big part of a family’s budget. The way parents allocate their spending against their kids really varies by season, and is heavily influenced by the child’s age and gender, and this is important for companies that service the kids market to understand in order to best allocate their resources,” said Anita Frazier, industry analyst, The NPD Group.

What’s Selling and Who’s Buying

According to the report, used and pre-owned items are having a noticeable impact on new retail purchases. When comparing the percentage of dollars spent on used and pre-owned items by category, video game software, books and video game hardware were the categories with the highest share of dollars coming from purchases of used items, at 19%, 11% and 9%, respectively.

In terms of the percentage of dollars spent on categories that were purchased on sale, apparel, arts & crafts, consumer electronics and school gear had the highest portion of dollars spent on items, with apparel being the leading category at 56%.

Almost two-thirds of dollars spent on kids came from their parents. Even in a non-holiday month, grandparents comprised 19% of overall spending particularly for the baby/infant, gift card, and toy categories.

Looking at leading brands and licensed entertainment properties for kids across all categories during July’s back-to-school period, Carters, Disney, Nike, Nintendo, and Sony led the pack (alpha order, based on dollar sales). Not surprisingly, many of the top brands and licenses for kids across all age groups were branded apparel and footwear or private label store brands. In terms of dollars spent, 28% were on licensed goods. Licensed entertainment property sales peaked with kids ages 3-5 with 42% of all dollars spent on kids in that age range going to licensed products.

[Source:  “Spotlight on Kids: Understanding Cross-Category Purchasing: Data from July 2010 – Back To School.”  The NPD Group.  18 Oct. 2010.  Web.  20 Oct. 2010.]