It's College Move-In Season, Just Ask Moms

This week marks National College Move-In Week when more than 130 colleges and universities welcome students for the fall semester. This means moms will invest plenty of money and sweat equity moving their sons and daughters in to dorms and apartments, a process that I have experienced twice in the last five weeks as I helped two of my children move to college towns at least six states away. From the shopping trips to the road trips with a packed car, I spy multiple opportunities for marketers to tap in to this segment of moms who are sending their sons and daughters off to college with everything they will need for their new college spaces.   

In a recent college move-in survey, we discovered shopping priorities of moms and their college students, dorm room must-haves and the high costs and challenges of the big move to college. 

The majority of students surveyed (57%) are moving in to traditional college dorm rooms; 18% are moving to campus-area apartments.



46% of college moms say they will spend between $400 and $600 on average to furnish dorms and apartments, along with another $500 in the actual moving costs of time off of work, fuel, hotels and more. 

For décor ideas and inspiration, 66% of moms are checking online retail sites, followed closely by 62% who browse Pinterest for ideas and purchases. 

Tablets, TVs, string lights and wall hangings top the packing lists for college-bound students. Moms’ first priorities are mattress covers, under bed storage bins, bedding and cooking appliances, making sure their sons and daughters have everything they need for college living. 

Over 45% of moms say they will furnish and decorate the dorm room with fresh, new items, 43% will combine a mix a fairly even mix of new purchases and items from home, and only 9% are furnishing the spaces only with items brought from home.

Moms in the survey feel the most stress making sure their sons and daughters have everything they will need (61%), followed by their college student leaving home for the first time (43%) and getting them moved in (37%). 

The important items for a home away from home also include a childhood memento. When asked for the strangest or funniest items on the list, over 70% of moms say their student is packing their childhood blanket or stuffed animal.

The opportunities are seemingly endless for marketers with products in the solution-based categories (organization and storage are another top priority for moms) as well as the décor and furnishings space (more important for students). Think care packages and gift cards as well. It goes without saying that today’s college students (yes, young millennials) are looking for products on Instagram and Pinterest. Moms love Pinterest, too, so make sure Pinterest boards are telling your product’s colorful story. If appropriate, reach out to colleges and universities to explore possible online promotions and offline outreach. 

Between National College Move-In Week and Labor Day, an estimated 20 million students will be moving in to college dorms and apartments across the U.S. The basic math points to a huge spend for the back-to-campus season.

Continue the conversation with me here or on Twitter: @MomTalkRadio.

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