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Consumer Trends

Infographic: Top 10 trends for back-to-school and college 2015

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Back-to-school and college shopping is a big deal for retailers, with total combined spending second only to the winter holiday shopping season. NRF’s annual survey, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, is among our most anticipated consumer research releases each year.

For the first time, we asked online shoppers if they plan to use retailers’ omnichannel delivery options, including free shipping, same-day delivery, ship-to-store and reserve online. The topics we ask about each year — from school uniforms to living in a dorm — also yielded interesting insights. Here’s a look at some of the data points that have captured our attention this year.

Top 10 Trends for
Back-to-School & College

Total combined spending for back to school and college is expected to reach $68 billion in 2015. Here's a look at trends from NRF's annual consumer survey.

Families plan to spend an average of $97.74 on school supplies like notebooks, pencils and backpacks, the second-highest amount since the recession.

Of parents surveyed, 28% say their children wear a school uniform, the highest in survey history.

Procrastinators are gaining on early birds.
30% of back-to-school shoppers will wait until one or two weeks before school to start shopping, up from 25% last year.

$630
Amount the average family with children in grades K-12 plans to spend on back-to-school shopping.

$899
Amount the average college student or college family plans to spend on back-to-college shopping.

31% of college students will live in a dorm room or college housing this year, the highest in survey history.


The average college family plans to spend a survey-high
$126 on dorm or apartment furnishings.

Mobile browsing...
More than three-quarters of college shoppers own a smartphone, and for the first time, more than half own a tablet. This year, 41% plan to use a smartphone to research products and compare prices, and 46% will use a tablet to shop.

and mobile buying
College shoppers are also planning to complete purchases on mobile devices: 31% plan to buy products with their smartphones, and 35% plan to use their tablets to purchase, the highest in survey history.

When shopping online,
9 in 10 back-to-college shoppers plan to take advantage of free shipping.

Nearly half of online back-to-college shoppers plan to use ship-to-store or in-store pickup services.

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Historical data and top trends: Find all of NRF's back-to-school and back-to-college resources in one place.