Commentary

Big Spenders On Their Way Back To College

Big Spenders On Their Way Back To College

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According to the NRF, from a study conducted by BIGresearch, students and their parents will spend a combined average of $956.93 on back-to-college merchandise, up from last year's $880.52, for a total of $47.3 billion gearing up for college.

Freshmen, many with gift cards and cash from graduation gifts, will spend the most this year ($1,193.60). Sophomores, with an average of $748.29, are expected to spend the least.

NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin, said "...colored laptops, stylish cell phones and distinctive dorm furniture will appeal to today's students and should be big sellers in retail stores across the country."

Laptops, digital cameras, along with iPhones and other cell phones, should be big sellers again this year, with students and their parents expected to spend a total of $12.8 billion on electronics. Spending on furnishings is expected to reach $5.43 billion, up from last year's $3.82 billion. Young adults aged 18-24 will spend the most in the dorm and apartment furnishings category, spending an average of $158.61.

Back to College Products Purchase Plans

 

% of Respondents

Expected Expenditure 2007

Textbooks

83.6%

$15 billion

School supplies (notebooks, folders, pencils, backpacks)

83.4

$3.14 billion

Clothing and accessories (except shoes)

69.2

$7.41 billion

Shoes

62.0

$2.96 billion

Electronics and computer related

50.3

$12.8 billion

Dorm or apartment furnishings

36.5

$5.43 billion

Source: NRF, August 2007

57.2% of students and their families will be shopping at college bookstores, while others (51.5%), will head to discounters Nearly one-third of consumers plan to shop online for back-to-college necessities

Locations For Planned Purchase Of Back to College Products

 

(% of respondents)

College bookstore

57.2%

Discount store

51.5

Department store

41.8

Office supply store

35.6

Clothing store

34.3

Online

30.5

Electronics store

20.9

Thrift of resale shop

14

Drug store

13.2

Home furnishings store

12.7

Catalog

10.5

Source NRF, August 2007

Vice President of Strategy for BIGresearch,  Phil Rist, said "For today's students, spending on college-related merchandise is as much of a necessity as wearing a business suit for a job interview... retailers are smart to focus on a group that needs to buy because of a life stage event."

Students living on-campus will outspend others by a wide margin as dorm dwellers are expected to spend $1,529.45 on college merchandise, nearly double what students living at home will spend ($774.86) and also substantially more than students living off-campus ($1161.98)

  • 49.7% of those polled said they would be living at home during the school year
  • 28.6% will live in off-campus housing
  • 18.7% will stay in a dormitory or other type of college housing
  • 1.3% will live in a fraternity or sorority house

For more about the study, please visit BIGresearch here.

 

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