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The cost of a conscience

28 Jun 2018

Pressured parents shell out £1,124 per child on guilt-gifts during the summer

  • Four in five parents (82 per cent) will treat their child to activities and gifts to compensate for lack of time they get to spend with their kids over the summer

  • To alleviate their guilt, parents will spend an additional £1,124 per child this summer on sweet treats, dinners out and new tech

  • Driving the anxiety is social media, as two fifths (42 per cent) of mums and dads admit what they see from other parents makes them feel pressured to deliver a perfect summer holiday

July 2, 2018: New research released today from online marketplace Groupon reveals that four in five parents (82 per cent) say they will treat their children to activities and gifts to compensate for the lack of time they get to spend with their kids over the summer.

Guilt-ridden parents will spend on average £187.40 more a week, per child, then they normally would; an additional £1,124 across the six weeks of summer. In an effort to spend more time with the family, almost two fifths of mums and dads (38 per cent) have even pulled a sickie over the summer holidays so that they can spend the day with the kids instead.

Adding to the pressure are further feelings of guilt, as parents worry about the length of time their children spend indoors during the holidays (35 per cent), and not being able to afford lots of day trips (32 per cent). In addition to this, three quarters (73%) of parents worry that their children’s summer break will not live up to their expectations. In fact, parents can feel so panicked, that a quarter (26%) start to worry more than three months before the summer holidays have even started.

Parents are increasingly feeling the force of social media when planning their children’s summer break with two fifths of mums and dads (42 per cent) saying what they see on other parents’ social media feeds makes them feel pressured to deliver a perfect summer holiday for their own family.

As a result, worryingly over a third of parents (35 per cent) feel they must spend more money during the summer holidays to compete and live up to expectations on Instagram and Facebook. A further 40 per cent admit to only uploading the best pictures of their summer, masking the realities of the day.

As a result, Groupon are launching a ‘Summer Unfiltered’ campaign, encouraging parents to show the realities of the holidays, helping to relieve the pressure created from social media during the break. To help kick start the movement, Groupon has teamed up with TV personality and mother of two, Stacey Solomon, whose mission is to encourage families to spend quality time together without it costing the earth and help paint a picture of what a summer unfiltered really looks like.

Stacey commented: “Keeping children entertained during the long summer holidays can be a struggle, and I have definitely felt the pressure! There are so many parents on social media posting beautiful pictures of the holidays, which in the past has made me question whether I am doing enough to keep my kids happy during the break. However, I don’t think it’s necessary to fork out lots of money to keep your kids busy it’s more about spending quality time with them and enjoying those hilarious moments. This summer I am planning to spend lots of time with my boys outdoors. Groupon has a range of great activities to inspire parents and keep the kids happy.”

The research also found that in a bid to keep their children happy and their conscience clear, Dads show their softer side by being more frivolous with their money, with 86 per cent forking out for presents vs. 78 per cent of mums. Top guilt-gifts include sweet treats (42 per cent), dinners out for burgers and pizzas (41 per cent) and day trips to the cinema and theme parks (39 per cent). A further 17 per cent have even bought their child new technology items, including iPads and video games.

John Wilson, MD at Groupon says “There is an immense amount of pressure for parents to keep their kids entertained during the summer and time is precious, so they have to make the most of the days they have with their children. However, they don’t have to break the bank to do this - the memories families will treasure are the laugh out loud and fun-filled moments from time spent together, whatever the activity. At Groupon, we’re really proud to offer such a range of great activities for less this Summer.”

In a further bid to help mums and dads say goodbye to guilt and celebrate #SummerUnfiltered this year, Groupon will be asking parents to share their real stories and snaps online for the chance to win a 7-night holiday for 4 people with Real Family Holidays. Stay tuned to the Groupon UK Facebook page for updates.

Click here for a range of family-fun activities this summer.


Top 10 reasons parents feel guilty over the summer

  1.       Staying in the house rather than getting out and about (35 per cent)
  2.       Not being able to afford lots of day trips and activities (32 per cent)
  3.       Letting the children spend hours in front of the TV / computer / iPad (28 per cent)
  4.       Running out of things to keep the kids entertained (28 per cent)
  5.       Not being able to afford to go on a holiday abroad (28 per cent)
  6.       Feeling that their children’s friends are having a better time than they are (25 per cent)
  7.       Saying no to the kids requests for sweets, toys and trips out etc. (22 per cent)
  8.       Lack of routine (17 per cent)
  9.       Late bedtimes (14 per cent)
  10.       Not organising more education and cultural events (12 per cent)




Research conducted in May 2018 by Opinium Research of 2,001 UK parents of children aged 5-16 years.

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About Groupon

Groupon (NASDAQ: GRPN) is building the daily habit in local commerce, offering a vast mobile and online marketplace where people discover and save on amazing things to do, see, eat and buy. By enabling real-time commerce across local businesses, travel destinations, consumer products and live events, shoppers can find the best a city has to offer. Groupon is redefining how small businesses attract and retain customers by providing them with customisable and scalable marketing tools and services to profitably grow their businesses.

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