Clothing represents the biggest single category for discretionary spending among mothers with children ages 14 and under-about 23%. But overall, entertainment is a much bigger slice of the "What did you get me?" pie, with a total of 48%. That's split among such categories as toys and board games (13%), leisure activities (13%), books, music, and movies (7%), video games (7%), consumer electronics (3%), subscriptions (3%) and events (2%.) And another 12% goes to food and beverages.
Intriguingly, the study found that the child's age-more so than household income-dictated how money would be spent. "Moms who only have kids older than 5 years of age spend approximately 35% more than moms with younger kids," says Anita Frazier, industry analyst for the Port Washington, N.Y.-based market research firm.
"We found that household income didn't play a major role in how moms spend," she says, adding that the report categorized respondents as high spenders, moderate spenders, or low spenders, based on what portion of total household income was spent on kids. "High spenders spend more in general across categories than do moderate or low spenders, but the two categories that had the most notable difference were apparel and toys."
Gender played some role-- moms of girls spend more on apparel while moms of boys spend more on video games-but had no impact on the average amount spent by category, says Frazier, adding that the study is an attempt to take a closer look "at the 'whole kid,' if you will, not just related to their behavior or size of market in their particular industry."
Children are most likely to influence their mom when it comes to buying a video game, and least likely to have a say when it comes to picking out clothes.