Teachers spend $468 of their own money on classroom supplies, survey finds

On average, teachers spend $468 of their own money on classroom expenses such as classroom supplies and instructional materials, according to a new survey from SheerID and Agile Education Marketing. Of those surveyed, 77% said they spent at least $200 annually. This number is just $20 less than in 2016, and some teachers reported spending as much as $5,000, up almost $1,000 from last year.

The survey data included responses from 674 teachers who shared insights from the 2016-2017 school year.

More than one-third of teachers (36%) shop every few months, while 28% shop every single month, and 22% shop only before the school year starts.

“Though we’ve seen average spending slightly decrease year-over-year, it’s clear that teachers are still spending a significant amount of their personal money on funding classroom supplies and materials almost every month,” said Jenny Schumacher, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Agile Education Marketing.

Teachers noted that they are 96% more likely to purchase from a company that offers a teacher discount online than one that doesn’t. However, the size of the discount continues to matter, and it is growing in importance: 83% of this year’s respondents said that a discount of 25% will get their attention, a 5% increase from 2016.

“Teachers obviously respond well to brands that offer them discounts, however, it’s time for brands to explore what other exclusive benefits they could offer to their teacher customers across all of their channels,” said Jake Weatherly, CEO of SheerID. “We’ve seen how our clients’ programs have benefited teachers all over the country, and how creating a variety of benefits that are simple to take advantage of can make all the difference.”

When teachers were asked what typically made them abandon online purchases, 27% said a complicated checkout process. 41% will abandon a purchase if they have to pay for shipping, which suggests that retailers should explore alternatives to discounts, like offering free shipping, to encourage loyalty.

See the complete set of survey results, or view the infographic.