Back To College Buying is Billions; Some Retailers Blue

In recent years back-to-college bound students have been a life vest for many retailers but this year college students and their parents won’t be spending quite as many bucks as last year.  Most families will be spending about fifty fewer dollars for back to school purchases ($600). That’s about a tank of gas required to deliver the college bound student to campus.  They will need to keep the shopping lists simple. Educator W. McKeachie observed the best professors tend to keep it simple. He noted the best lecturers are known for using “a simple plan and many examples. ”  

This retail season provides a multi-billion dollar benefit for stores. Back to school spending will exceed the $50 billion mark again this year. While back-to-college and back-to-school spending to reach over $51.4 billion this year, college students will be spending 7 percent less compared to last year.

Students will allocate the largest portion of their budgets to electronics.  The amount of money they spend will drop from $258.43 last year to $211.89 this year.  A leading retail researcher reports, “Though every college student wants the latest-and-greatest gadgets, students are being frugal this year. While some may opt for a cheaper model, many students may take advantage of computer labs at school or a family computer at home instead of investing in one themselves.”

The only notable increase this year will be in school supplies expected to increase from $63.52 to $68.47 this year. The college bound will be cutting back on their clothing and dorm furnishing purchases significantly this year with purchases in these categories expected to drop almost 14 percent. Shoes while remain at the same level as last year.

College bookstores are the most likely to be affected by this drop in back-to-school spending.  Under half of students plan to buy from those stores showing a decrease of over 15 percent. With students careful with every penny, they are looking at other resources to find items at a cheaper price.  

Another big trend for this coming semester is students who are living at home and commuting to campus.  Over 54.1 percent of students will be crashing at their “parent’s pad” this year in hopes of escaping some rising prices in food and housing in the current economic environment.


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