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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : July 24, 2017

Survey: College wins back to school spending

While the numbers are close, those families shopping for back to college supplies are expected to out-spend families shopping for K-12 supplies. That's the word from Deloitte's 2017 Back to College Survey; according to their research families with kids headed to college are expected to take up at least two-thirds of the whole back to school spend.

by Kristina Knight

Experts expect families to spend upwards of $73 billion this back to school season, with college spending pushing at least $46 billion. This is a similar spending range to the 2016 season. Researchers also found more students are controlling - or at least influencing - the spending budget. Most (68%) parents surveyed say their child influences their spending.

For their part, students are hoping to use coupons, discounts, and deals to make their budgets go farther. Most (81%) plan to shop retailers that offer free shipping, and 76% plan to buy used text books. About two-thirds plan to rent textbooks when possible.

"Back-to-college shopping is prime time for retailers to create fans that can last a decade or more," said Rod Sides, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and U.S. retail, wholesale and distribution practice leader. "The amount people are spending is about the same as last year, but what and where they're buying may come with a couple of plot twists. Students are budgeting for experiences, not just buying stuff for the dorm room. People say they're buying fewer traditional college supplies in light of digital technologies in the classroom. While people expect most of their purchases to happen in the store, about one-quarter haven't decided whether they will shop online or in store. At the end of the season, even if the same amount of money funnels into college-related spending, retailers that adjust their timing, experiences and assortment may be the only ones who reap the benefits from it."

As to where they'll be shopping, nearly half of parents say they'll shop in-store, but students are more evenly split between online (35%) and in-store (41%).

Tags: back to school shopping trends, Deloitte, ecommerce, retail trends

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