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A Look at College Students Back-to-School Shopping Plans

OnCampus Research, the research division of the National Association of College Stores, recently asked college students across the country about their back-to-school shopping plans and here’s what we found.

 

Keep calm. They’re still enjoying summer.

Even if store shelves are stocked in early July, most college students (77%) plan to wait until a few weeks or a week before classes start to begin their back-to-school shopping. Only 11% said they plan ahead and start shopping months in advance.

 

They’re logging off and walking in.

Despite the fears that bricks-and-mortar stores are on the decline, the majority (76%) of college students said they plan to do their back-to-school shopping in-store, and only 24% of students plan to do the majority of their back-to-school shopping online. When asked where they plan to shop, 71% of students plan to shop at a mass retailer (such as Walmart or Target).

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Community college students are more likely to shop at the campus bookstore and dollar stores, while college/university
students are slightly more likely to shop at traditional department stores.

 

I have $$$ to spend here.

College students report a budget of approximately $237 to spend on back-to-school supplies this year. And, they expect their parents to chip in about $71.

 

Students say they’re conservative … with their spending.

Seventy-nine percent of college students say they expect to spend the same or less than last year on back-to-school supplies and 21% plan to spend considerably less.

 

Pens, pencils, and notebooks, oh my!

Your average college student’s back-to-class shopping list:

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Methods: OnCampus Research maintains a student panel of more than 24,000 students. This survey was emailed to a random sample of the student panel. The survey fielded from June 22-29 and covered back-to-school shopping and assorted topics. A total of 2,249 valid responses were collected. The margin of error for this survey was +/- 2.1% at the 95% confidence level.