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Parents, College Students to Spend More Than $1K on Back-to-College

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Families sending their children off to college anticipate an increase in back-to-college expenditures this year, according to Deloitte’s survey of parents with students in college.  More than four in 10 (43%) of these respondents expect to spend more this year, nine percentage points higher than those with children in grades K-12. College students

Parents surveyed expect to shell out an average of $907 on back-to-college items, and nearly two in five (37%) parents expect to spend more than $1,000.  By comparison, those with children in grades K-12 anticipate spending an average of $428 on back-to-school.

On top of their own budgets, parents anticipate their children will contribute an additional 50%, or $453, to back-to-college expenses.  Many also see their children planning ahead: Nearly six in 10 (57%) parents expect their children will coordinate with roommates to match dorm decor and avoid duplicating purchases.

Respondents will keep a careful eye on how they spend those dollars, similar to those in the “Back-to-School” survey.  Almost seven in 10 (68%) will buy only absolute necessities and 64% plan to shop only in stores offering sales.  More than four in 10 (44%) will request in-store price matching this back-to-school season.

“Families with students in college often have longer shopping lists with bigger ticket items,” noted Paul.  “Those sales are highly-valuable to retailers, especially when they can encourage other household purchases and loyalty alongside the back-to-school trip.  Retailers should pay extra attention to making parents’ and students’ tasks simpler by offering online tools to view items and virtually design their rooms, or by making it easier to find and purchase items that match a school’s dorm specifications.”

Parents and students alike will largely head online seeking a combination of the best deals, selection and convenience. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of parents indicate they will buy more online this year to find the best product or price, and more than half (52%) prefer to buy from retailers offering online shopping with in-store pick up.

Nearly twice as many (42%) of households in Deloitte’s “Back-to-College” survey plan to use social media during the shopping process compared to parents of children in grades K-12 (21%).  Those who do so will primarily seek out reviews/recommendations (76%), promotions (67%) and browse products (61%).

[Source:  “Back to College.”  Survey by Deloitte.  29 Jul. 2013. Web.  8 Aug. 2013.]