Digital Marketing Researches & Reports

2018 Back-to-College Survey: US Consumers | Deloitte

Shopping Seasons | USA

In 2018, spending by parents during the back-to-college (B2C) shopping season is expected to reach $25.5 billion, or $1,330 per household. In the same context, retailers need to take a closer look at parent planned spending during back-to-college shopping and understand what’s most important to parents when shopping.

Consumer Spending on Back-to-College Trends

  • College supplies (89%), clothing & accessories (78%) and household appliances & supplies (68%) are the top 3 categories planned to be bought by parents in the US for back-to-college season.
  • Parents plan to spend more on computers & hardware than any other category with an average spend of $674.
  • 54% of back-to-college shopping spend is expected to go to in-store shopping, compared to only 24% for online shopping.

Back-to-College Season Timing and Shopping Behavior

  • The vast majority of parents in the US plan to start their back-to-college shopping begin shopping before August with a rate of 68%, while only 32% plan to begin shopping in August or later.
  • Early shoppers are most likely to be parents of first-time college students (40%), and 37% of early shoppers seeking best deals for big-ticket items.
  • Nearly 6 out of 10 of back-to-college shoppers plan to make a purchase using a desktop/laptop while only 42% plan to do so using a mobile.
  • Three-quarters of shoppers are more likely to purchase from online retailers who offer free shipping, while 53% will do so from retailers that offer an option to buy online and return to a store.
2018 Back-to-College Survey: US Consumers | Deloitte 1 | Digital Marketing Community

A Graph Shows the Average Back-to-College Spend by US Parents in 2018 (In-St0re vs. Online)


Data were driven from 1,025 parents in the US with college-going children with respondents having at least one child attending college in Undergraduate or Graduate courses this fall. The survey was conducted online from May 31 to June 13, 2018. The margin of error for the entire sample of plus or minus three percentage points.


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