This year, parents with teenagers are expected to spend $1,078 on prom, an increase of $807 from 2011, according to data from a survey released by Visa.
Some of the increase might be the result of teenagers being influenced by celebrities, social media and reality TV, experts told USA Today. Prom spending has never been this high. Teenage-girls look at prom as their "red-carpet moment," Linda Korman, advising director for Teen Prom and Seventeen Prom, told USA Today. Teenage girls receive a lot of influence from celebrities who walk on the red carpet while wearing designer gowns.
The jump in prom spending isn't just something wealthier families are doing, as families making between $20,000 and $29,999 annually plan to spend more than $2,600 on prom, according to the Visa survey. That's more than double the national average, but families in high-income brackets only plan to spend between $700 and $1,000.
"It's a rite of passage, and there's a legacy of how you look at your prom," Korman told USA Today. "Girls want to dress to impress."