Families with college students will spend about $46 billion this summer, according to Deloitte’s “2017 Back-to-College Survey.”
The college-related expenditures account for nearly two-thirds of the anticipated $72.6 billion in spending expected for both K-12 and college students, according to the study.
College supplies and apparel still top shopping lists, but technology products command the largest budget, according to the parents and students surveyed.
Anticipated back-to-college spending is equal to last year, with parents expecting to spend on average $1,347 compared with college students at $1,051. Although parents anticipate that they’ll spend more overall, over two-thirds (68 percent) expect that half of their back-to-college spending will be influenced by their students. Nearly six in 10 (57 percent) students plan to contribute more than half of the budget.
Some 76 percent of the students surveyed consider themselves to be budget-conscious. The majority of students plan to buy from retailers that offer free shipping (81 percent), buy more used textbooks (76 percent) or rent more textbooks (66 percent) to stretch their funds.
The majority of those surveyed plan to include experiential events in their college budget planning. Some activities students budget for include socializing at restaurants, bistros and bars (82 percent), attending cultural events like concerts, theater and movies (58 percent) and socializing at sporting events (50 percent).
Roughly 50 percent of back-to-college shoppers, both parents and students, plan to increase spending both online and in-store if sales tax reductions or a tax holiday are offered.
For both parents and students, top shopping channels included mass merchants (more than 70 percent of parents and students), on-campus bookstores (roughly two-thirds of parents and students) and online-only retailers (more than half of parents and students). Mass merchants, fast-fashion apparel retailers and off-price stores are likely to realize the greatest increase as shopping destinations, while traditional department stores and specialty clothing stores are expected to slide as purchase destinations for both parents and students.
In-store still remains the preferred shopping channel among parents and students. Parents anticipate that almost half (49 percent) of their budget will be spent in store while students expect 41 percent in the same channel. However, students are more likely to shop online (35 percent), compared to parents (25 percent).
Rod Sides, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and U.S. retail, wholesale and distribution practice leader, said: “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.”
The annual Deloitte survey was conducted online between May 31 and June 13. The study involved two surveys, polling a sample of 1,025 parents with college-going children and 1,025 college-going students.