Report Summary

Although budget is a top concern, back to college spending remains robust as today's students prioritize big-ticket categories and fast-moving trends.

Brittany Steiger, Senior Analyst, US Retail and eCommerce Reports

Table of Contents

    • Key issues covered in this Report
  1. Executive Summary

  2. Market Dynamics

    • Market context
    • Market drivers
    • Graph 1: headline CPI, core CPI, and shelter CPI, 2021-24
    • Graph 2: consumer sentiment index, 2021-24
    • Market size
    • Graph 3: consumers’ planned back to college spending, in current dollars, 2018-23
    • Graph 4: per household planned back to college spending, 2018-23
    • Market segmentation
    • Graph 5: consumers’ planned back to college spending, by category, 2018-23
    • Graph 6: distribution of consumers’ planned back to college spending, by category, 2018-23
  3. Consumer Insights

    • Consumer fast facts
    • College students by the numbers
    • Graph 7: college students aged 18 or older, by age, 2022
    • Graph 8: college program enrollment, 2023
    • Graph 9: current college enrollment status, 2023
    • Graph 10: year-over-year comparison in college program enrollment, 2020-23
    • Graph 11: college students’ living arrangements, 2023
    • Graph 12: college students’ employment status, 2023
    • Graph 13: percent distribution of college students, by Hispanic origin, 2011-21
    • Graph 14: percent distribution of college students, by race, 2011-21
    • Back to college shopping participation
    • Graph 15: back to college shopping participation (NET), 2020-23
    • Graph 16: year-over-year comparison of back to college shopping participation, 2020-23
    • Graph 17: back to college shopping participation, by program enrollment, 2023
    • Graph 18: back to college shopping participation by household income, race and Hispanic origin, 2023-24 school year
    • Graph 19: plans to participate in back to school shopping for the upcoming 2024-25 school year, 2023
    • Back to college shopping approach
    • Graph 20: back to college shopping approach, 2023-24 school year
    • Graph 21: back to college shopping approach, by gender, 2023-24 school year
    • Graph 22: back to college shopping approach, by living arrangement, 2023-24 school year
    • Shopping timeframes
    • Graph 23: back to college shopping timeframe, 2023
    • Graph 24: back to school shopping timeframes, college students vs K-12 parents, 2023
    • Graph 25: back to college shopping timeframe, by gender, 2023
    • Graph 26: attitudes toward back to college shopping timeframe, by gender, 2023
    • Retailers shopped
    • Graph 27: retailers shopped for back to college, 2023-24 school year
    • Graph 28: repertoire of retailers shopped for back to college, 2023-24 school year
    • Graph 29: year-over-year comparison, select retailers shopped, 2021-23
    • Graph 30: retailers shopped, college students versus K-12 parents, 2023
    • Graph 31: retailers shopped for back to college, by gender, 2023
    • Graph 32: retailers shopped, by race and Hispanic origin and sexual orientation, 2023
    • Shopping methods
    • Graph 33: year-over-year comparison, back to college shopping methods, 2021-24
    • Graph 34: back to college shopping method, 2023-24 school year
    • Graph 35: year-over-year comparison of devices used for online back to college shopping, 2021-23
    • Graph 36: devices used for online back to college shopping, 2023-24 school year
    • Graph 37: devices used for online back to college shopping, by household income, 2023-24 school year
    • Graph 38: back to college shopping method, by household income, 2023-24 school year
    • Graph 39: back to college shopping method, by gender, 2023-24 school year
    • Back to college purchases
    • Graph 40: items purchased for the 2023-24 school year and planned purchases for the 2024-25 school year
    • Graph 41: year-over-year comparison of items purchased and planned purchases for the school year, 2021-24
    • Graph 42: planned home furnishings/living space purchases, by living arrangement, 2024-25 school year
    • Graph 43: planned purchases for the 2024-25 school year, by gender, 2023
    • Shopping behaviors
    • Graph 44: back to college behaviors – secondhand shopping, by key demographics, 2023
    • Graph 45: back to college shopping behaviors – social commerce, 2023
    • Graph 46: back to college shopping behaviors, by gender, 2023
    • Students’ shopping influences
    • Graph 47: back to college shopping influences, 2023
    • Graph 48: select back to college shopping influences, 2020-23
    • Graph 49: most influential social media platforms for college students, ranked, 2023
    • Graph 50: back to college shopping influences – media and brand, by household income, 2023
    • Graph 51: back to college shopping influences – recommendations and promotions, by household income, 2023
    • Graph 52: back to college shopping influences, by gender, 2023
    • Graph 53: influential social media channels – any rank, by gender, 2023
    • Graph 54: back to college shopping influences – corporate social responsbility, by race and Hispanic origin, 2023
    • Attitudes toward back to college shopping
    • Graph 55: attitudes toward budgeting and expenses, by household income, 2023
    • Graph 56: attitudes toward convenience, 2023
    • Graph 57: attitudes toward student ambassador programs, any agree, by key demographics, 2023
  4. Competitive Strategies

    • Marketing and advertising
    • Opportunities
  5. Appendix

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