If you’re part of the over 40 set, back-to-school shopping used to mean lots of school supplies, new clothes and maybe some cheap dorm furniture. Today it apparently means lots of wireless, handheld gadgets and perhaps a new digital camera.
According to some recently released statistics from the National Retail Federation (NRF), college students and their parents will spend $36.6 billion returning to campus this year, up 6.3 percent and more than double what parents of K-12 students will spend on back-to-school. And what will they be buying? According to the NRF, the biggest driver in college spending in 2006 will be in electronics. College students are expected to spend 27.5 percent more on electronics purchases ($10.46 billion) as the category expands to include flat screen TVs, XBoxes, iPods, digital cameras and notebook computers.
“Today’s college students were using computers before they could write, which explains their gravitation toward electronics,” said NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin. “By merchandising and marketing to the college crowd, retailers are hoping to not only boost this year’s sales but also to gain customers for life.”
A combined total that includes back-to-school spending from K-12 and college students is expected to hit approximately $54.2 billion ranking this period second in total retail spending only to the holiday selling season.