this Saturday, May 12, 2012 photo, Rockford High
School students dance at The Pinnacle Center
during their prom in Hudsonville, Mich. Prom
spending is expected to rise in 2013 to an
average $1,139. Thatís among families who are
planning to spend some money to attend the
annual affair, according to a survey of 1,025
parents of prom age teens by payment processor
Visa Inc. and research company Gfk.
prom is making a big comeback.
recession forced parents and teens to cut back on
spending for the annual high school dance, but wallets
are finally opening again.
are more elaborate," says Marshal Cohen, chief
industry analyst at market research firm NPD Group.
"They are now buying two pairs of shoes, one to
go to prom and one to dance in."
crop of kids cares about prom," says Cohen.
so do the parents, who see the dance as a rite of
passage. The pressure to help give teenagers a
memorable night is high. "You don't want your kid
to be the only kid who doesn't have what the other
kids have," says Kit Yarrow, a consumer
psychologist and professor at Golden Gate University.
spending is expected to rise this spring to an average
$1,139. That's among families who are planning to
spend some money to attend the annual affair,
according to a survey of 1,025 parents of prom age
teens by payment processor Visa Inc. and research
company Gfk. Not included in the average were 12
percent who said they wouldn't spend anything on the
prom. A majority of parents with teenagers surveyed
were still unsure how much they'd spend.
Dow didn't have a budget for her 16-year-old
daughter's prom dress. She wanted it to be well made,
have a good fit and be unique.
paid $500 for a raspberry-colored gown with silver
beading and a sweetheart neckline. She expects her
daughter, Darby McDaniel, who is a junior in high
school to wear the dress more than once.
will also pay for a hairstylist, a spray tan and part
of the cost of a party bus to drive a group of kids to
has become a very big production," says Dow, who
owns Dow Media Group, a marketing company.
and daughter bought the dress from a small boutique in
Chandler, Ariz., where they live. They chose the
boutique because it keeps a registry of the dresses
that girls from area schools buy, so that no two girls
from the same school show up in identical dresses.
don't want to be competing with anyone," says
McDaniel, whose prom is open to both juniors and
seniors. "You don't want to be outshined."
parents set more precise budgets. Anne Klein, who
lives in Durango, Colo., gave her 17-year old daughter
a budget of $150 for a prom dress. They picked a $120
peach colored dress from a Macy's Inc. store in San
Diego while visiting colleges in the area. The
remaining $30 will go towards shoes.
Bridal, which sells prom dresses, says the average
spent on prom dresses this year at its 300 stores is
$170. The most popular color is pink blush, thanks to
"Hunger Games" actress Jennifer Lawrence,
says Brian Beitler, an executive vice president.
Lawrence wore a similar color to the Academy Awards.
are fantasizing about their own stardom in a
way," says Yarrow. "This is sort of their
red carpet moment."
want to be noticed too. Men's Wearhouse Inc. says boys
are spending anywhere from $60 to $200 on tuxedo
rentals. A gray tuxedo by Vera Wang is popular this
year. It rents for $180.
blue tuxedos are a popular choice on
HalloweenCostumes.com. The website says that it had to
make more of its $220 tuxedos after they sold out
three months ago. The retailer, which also sells its
tuxedos in small boutiques, attributes the bump in
sales to celebrities who have been wearing colored
tuxedos to awards shows. Sales of the website's
hunting camouflage tuxedos are up 20 percent from a
year ago. They're in demand because the cast of
popular duck hunting reality show "Duck
Dynasty" wear similar ones, says Mark Bietz, vice
president of marketing at HalloweenCostumes.com.
Kerschner, of Adamstown, Penn., told her 16-year-old
son that she wasn't paying for any of his prom
expenses. She wanted to teach him a lesson about
spending money. "I am in the minority," says
Kerschner, who does marketing for in-home senior care
company Comfort Keepers.
son, Casey Kerschner, paid $129 to rent a gray tuxedo
with money he made cleaning stalls at a horse barn.
The prom ticket cost the high school junior $50. He
spent $20 on two tickets for the after-prom party. He
didn't take a limousine earlier this month. Most
people in his school didn't. Instead, he paid $10 to
get his Volkswagen Jetta cleaned.
fun," says Casey Kerschner about the prom,
"but in my opinion, it's not worth $220."
not sure if he will go to the prom again next year. A
local tuxedo shop offers high school boys a free
rental if they wear a tuxedo all day and hand out
fliers and coupons. He might try to do that next year.
way I see it," he says, "I worked a little
over two weeks shoveling stalls at a horse barn to
spend five hours at a dance."