INTRODUCTION

TeensMarketplace, a daily economics news program heard on National Public Radio, featured a story on August 14, 2001 about teenagers' retail habits during the months preceding the 2001 school year.
"Retailers always salivate when teenagers need to suit up for the new school year. But as reporter Sarah Gardner found, some industry leaders think students might be getting thrifty in the slowing economy." Now we need to determine why they are making this choice.

TASK

In this lesson you will:

  • Reflect on your own spending habits while recognizing that all choices involve cost and benefits.
  • Identify and develop effective promotions and advertisements

PROCESS

Activity 1
Reflect on your own "back-to-school" spending habits while recognizing that all choices involve costs and benefits.

  • What purchases did you make to get ready for going back-to-school this fall? Include supplies, clothes, electronic equipment, etc., in your examples?
  • How much did each item cost?
  • Where was each item purchased?
  • Why was that particular item purchased?
  • Where did the money come from to purchase these things? Could other things be purchased?

As you collect this information, enter it into a table. A table is provided for you to use. Click on this link to get it: Back to School Spending Report Chart.

Activity 2

Now listen to the Marketplace audio segment titled Back-to-School Retail , either as a whole class or in small groups. (Play from 7:38 through 10:37)

Transcript of the audio file

As you listen to the segment, answer the following questions to gather information for later analysis (you may listen to the segment several times if necessary):

  • What percentage of girls say that the "number one cure for boredom" is shopping?
  • Of retail purchases, what percentage are made by teens?
  • What does Teen Magazine estimate the average teen will spend on back-to-school products in 2001?
  • What does the National Retail Federation estimate that the average household will spend on back-to-school products in 2001?
  • What does the National Retail Federation estimate that the average household spent on back-to-school products in 2000?

Activity 3

Analyze the information gathered from the Marketplace segment by answering the following questions. First, reflect individually in writing for 5 minutes. Then, have discuss your ideas in small groups. Finally, have each group report some ideas to the entire class.

  • According to the 2000 census, there are approximately 275,000,000 people in the United States. If 50,000,000 of those people are teenagers, what percentage of the population do teens comprise? Therefore, what percentage of shopping mall retail sales would you expect teenagers?
  • According to the Marketplace segment, what percentage of shopping mall retail sales do teenagers make? How might this affect retail advertising and marketing?
  • What does the change in the National Retail Federation's "average household back-to-school purchases" from the year 2000 to the year 2001 suggest about the economy or consumer perception of the economy?
  • What may be the cause of the discrepancy between Teen Magazine's back-to-school purchase figures and the National Retail Federation's back-to-school purchase figures?

Activity 4

After analyzing the data from the Marketplace segment, reflect on your own purchasing habits, comparing to the national averages. Answer these questions:

  • Were your own purchases above or below the national average according to Teen Magazine?
  • Were your own purchases above or below the national average according to the National Retail Federation?
  • Were your purchases more than or less than last years' purchases?
  • Did advertising or promotions affect what purchases you made? If so, how?
  • Did advertising or promotions affect where your purchases were made? If so, how?

CONCLUSION

In the preceding activities, you should have demonstrated an understanding of how to develop and use a budget, create an effective advertisement and recognize that all choices involve costs and benefits. To reinforce this understanding, complete the activity in the Evaluation section below.

ASSESSMENT ACTIVITY

Now determine your monthly "salaries" (from allowances, part-time jobs, etc.).You should then create a budget for your spending in the following categories:

  • clothes
  • utilities (phone, Internet, etc.)
  • transportation (bus fare, gasoline, etc.)
  • entertainment (movies, CDs, concerts, etc.)
  • food
  • savings

You should compare your budget and then determine the percentage of money spent in each category. Remember that your percentages should add up to 100%.

EXTENSION ACTIVITY

The following are suggested activities to reinforce concepts and content from this lesson.

Activity 1

You should now search online and in print and television advertising to find at least one example of a promotional campaign like the ones discussed in the Marketplace segment. You should then plan your own promotional campaign to sell one back-to-school item of their choice. As you work you should also consider questions such as:

  • What giveaways might attract your target market to your product?
  • What type of slogan or jingle would appeal to your market?
  • What media will you use to "get the word out" about your promotion?