Americans spend upward of $5 million on graduation gifts, according to the National Retail Federation.
Parents can be forgiven if they hear Oprah’s voice in their head regarding the purchase of graduation gifts: “YOU get a graduation gift and YOU get a graduation gift…EVERYBODY gets a graduation gift.”
That issue settled, next is deciding how much is appropriate to spend on your high school or college graduate to commemorate their achievement. Last year, Americans were forecast to spend $4.7 billion on graduation gifts, according to the National Retail Federation.
Between $50 and $100 seems appropriate to the highest percentage of Affluent households surveyed by Spectrem Group for Millionaire Corner, but college graduates can perhaps expect more extravagant gifts from family members or close friends.
Whereas only 17 percent of respondents would spend between $100 and $150 for a gift for their high school graduate, 24 percent would do so for their college grad. Similarly, twice as many parents or acquaintances of college graduates would consider spending between $150 and $200 for a gift (12 percent) than they would on a gift for a high school grad.
Finally, 20 percent allowed they would spend more than $200 on a gift for a college graduate, vs. just 8 percent who would spend that amount for a high school graduation gift.
Women tend to be more frugal than their male counterparts when it comes to gifts for high school grads. Nearly three-in-ten (27 percent) think it appropriate to spend up to $50 vs. 21 percent of men. For a college grad, women are more likely to keep spending within the $50 and $100 range (36 percent vs. 29 percent. More than $200? Not if she has anything to say about it; only 16 percent of women would approve this amount vs. 24 percent of men.
When it comes to spending on graduation gifts, there is not that much difference between those of Republican or Democrat persuasion. Both are in agreement (44 percent) that between $50 and $100 is appropriate to spend on a high school graduation gift.
College grads, though, might hope they have some Republican relations. Whereas Democrats are more likely to spend between $50 and $100 on a gift for a college grad (32 percent vs. 29 percent), Republicans are more likely to spend over $200 (22 percent vs. 20 percent).
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.