Report: Majority of Teachers Purchase School Supplies for Students

This year 91 percent of teachers used some of their own money to pay for school supplies, and 38 percent used only their own money, according to a new report from The NPD Group.

The report, "Today's Teachers: School Supply Purchasing Dynamics and Behaviors," surveyed almost 1,000 K-12 public and private school teachers in the United States about their purchasing behaviors. The online survey was conducted in February 2015.

According to the report, teachers expect to spend a total of about $500 on school supplies by the end of this school year, 47 percent of which will come from their own pockets. About one third of teachers expect to spend more on school supplies this year than last.

Other key findings from the report:

  • 73 percent of teachers or schools provide students with a list of school supplies to purchase;
  • 62 percent of students can purchase all of the requested school supplies;
  • 87 percent of teachers purchase items for writing and children's activities;
  • 86 percent of teachers purchase general office supplies;
  • 79 percent purchase notebooks and paper;
  • 74 percent purchase janitorial, sanitation and breakroom products; and
  • 67 percent purchase materials for arts, crafts and projects.

While the August and September back-to-school season is when teachers purchase most school supplies, 52 percent also purchase items during the months of January, February and March.

According to Leen Nsouli, office supplies industry analyst for The NPD Group, several factors are contributing to teachers' attitudes and purchasing activities, including "changing dynamics in terms of marketplace competition within the office and school supply industry, as well as shifts in school budgets and technological advancements which have transformed the way students think and learn."

A free preview of the report can be found on The NPD Group's site.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at [email protected].