2020 Back-to-School Spending Trends

Even with the uncertainty of returning to campus and the possibility of students taking the year off, college spending is expected to increase according to National Retail Federation. While back-to-school spending is expected to increase, NRF is anticipating consumers will shop at fewer places.


It’s estimated that students and families will spend $1,059.20 on average according to survey results from NRF, an increase from $976.78 from last year. A large amount of this will be for electronics. This comes as no surprise since most students will likely be doing class work online, even if they return to campus. The average spending for electronics is expected to be $261.62 compared to $234.69 last year.

Looking at college bookstores specifically, 25% of students plan to shop their bookstore, down from 32% last year. This decline is likely due to many college campuses continuing remote learning from fall 2020. Perhaps, students aren’t thinking about purchasing from their campus store if they are staying home. This makes it even more critical for stores to step up their ecommerce presence and payment and delivery options. Bookstores should focus their efforts on digital marketing including emails, social media, and online ads so they can reach students at home.

Source: NRF

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