Mothers spend over a hundred pounds on party bags equating to a nation spend of over eight hundred million pounds every year 


In a new consumer report looking at spend on children’s birthdays it has been revealed that across the nation mothers are spending up to £808 million solely on the traditional party bag gesture.

Mothers spend as much as £5 on each bag and children invite, on average, 21 friends. This equates to a sizeable spend of £105 per party – just to keep their place in the league of best party hosts, as rated by parents in the playground.

It’s no secret that parents feel a level of competitiveness to surpass each other when it comes to who does it best, and this research shows that the party bag is playing a big part in the competition. But, so big is the trend to make birthdays an occasion to remember that generous mothers are also spending as much as £355 on gifts, cakes, party entertainment and a family day out.

The study, carried out with 2,000 mothers to mark the launch of a new campaign by charity World Bicycle Relief UK, verified this trend as almost half (43%) of mothers admit they feel social pressure to spend a lot of money on their child’s birthday but it didn’t necessarily increase the enjoyment of the occasion for the child.   

In light of the findings World Bicycle Relief UK, is launching a campaign to encourage mothers to make a change and swap the spend on party bags for a more meaningful gesture.

The ‘Bag a Bike’ campaign is urging mums to forego the contents of the traditional party bag and swap novelty hairclips and loom bands for a charitable donation. To help mothers do this, World Bicycle Relief UK has set up a party toolkit on its website, which includes downloadable cards that mums can give with a piece of cake that guests can still take home, explaining how their party bag is helping others.

World Bicycle Relief UK provides school children, (70% girls) living in poor areas of Africa with robust bicycles that give them access to education, healthcare and better opportunities. One donation of £95 buys a bicycle for a child, which enables them to attend school on a daily basis. This specially designed bicycle can withstand the tough terrain that faces them when they make the trek to school which can be up to three hours long.

Almost all of the mums questioned (80%) said they found the grand gestures on birthdays left them feeling regretful. Two thirds (66%) of mothers admitted to unnecessarily exceeding their budget every year.

It’s often the case that mothers do not realise there are other ways to re-direct some of their generosity and instil caring values in their children at the same time. The ‘Bag a Bike’ campaign offers mothers an easy way to share some of their child’s good fortune and uphold their position as the ‘best mum in the playground’ league.

Swapping party bags for a donation is a simple way that a family in the UK can change the life of a schoolchild growing up in some of Africa’s poorest regions. Over a quarter (26%) of mothers said their offspring would be happy to help children less fortunate than themselves if they knew more about others’ needs.

Stephen Cromwell, World Bicycle Relief UK Development Director, said: “The findings from our report show that there is a fantastic opportunity to use the generous spirit of British families to change the lives of those less fortunate.

“Access to education and healthcare is a given for children in the UK, but in rural parts of Africa it can take children more than three hours of walking, on an unforgiving terrain, just to get to school. Supplying durable bicycles mobilises these young children, giving them the chance to build a future. Our campaign is encouraging parents to think differently about the traditional party bag and introduce an alternative gesture, which could completely change the life of a school child in Africa.”

Further research into the party bag spend trend found that notepads, books, and jewellery were among the most popular party bag fillers.

The full list is:

1.    Notepads

2.    Set of colouring pencils

3.    Jewellery

4.    Sweets

5.    Nail varnish

6.    Toys

7.    Action figurines

8.    Mini puzzle

9.    Stickers

10. Book

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