NRF: Back-to-College Spending to Decline

NRF logoWASHINGTON-Total consumer spending on back-to-college will average $836.83, down from $907.22 last year, according to a survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics for the National Retail Federation.

Total back-to-college spending will be $45.8 billion this season, the survey said. The total spend for both back-to-school and back-to-college will be $72.5 billion.

For the back-to-college crowd, spending on dormitory and apartment furnishings is expected to rise—the only category that will go up, the survey said. The 42 percent of families with students in dorms and apartments will average $104.76 in spending on bedding, microwaves and small refrigerators, up from $100.27 last year. Shoppers for college are also projected to spend an average of $65.08 on personal-care items (including electrics in this category).

Pam Goodfellow, Prosper’s director of consumer insights, said the economy will play a role in parents’ efforts to keep expenses down by foregoing room and board at colleges. The percentage of students who will commute to college will rise from 42.9 percent last year to 47.7 percent this year, the survey found.

“That said, we do expect those living on campus this year to do so in style,” Goodfellow said. “Millennials are extremely different from previous generations when it comes to personal style and decor, and retailers are answering their call with trendy college-related products that will put a personal touch on their temporary living spaces.”