Despite the growing e-commerce market, back-to-college (BTC) spending in the US will mainly take place in brick-and-mortar stores, according to Deloitte.
It expects that in-store spending will in fact increase to 54%, up from 49% in 2017, whereas online spending will take a 24% share, and 22% are still undecided, although in-store is predicted to pick up most of this. This clashes with research published earlier in the month by the National Retail Federation, which predicted online retailers will have a 49% share of the market and be the top destination for college students.
Deloitte earlier published a survey on back to school spending, which also said consumers still prefer to shop in brick-and-mortar stores over online.
Total spending is estimated to reach $25.5 billion, or $1,330 per household, a slight decrease from $1,347 per household last year.
College supplies will command the largest share of this ($8.2 billion), followed by computers and hardware ($4.4 billion), and clothing and accessories ($4.2 billion).
The survey also looked at the influence that students have on spending. Over 80% of parents expect to collaborate with their offspring on budgeting and shopping for BTC.
80% of parents also expect their children to contribute less than half of their BTC shopping budget, with only 2% expecting children to pay for 100% of it.
Similar to BTS shopping, the most popular destination will be mass merchants, with online only retailers coming third.
The top 10 BTC retail destinations:
Mass merchants (75%)
Online-only retailers (51%)
Off-price stores (31%)
Office supplies/technology stores (30%)
Fast fashion apparel retailers (29%)
Off-campus bookstores (27%)
Traditional department stores (27%)
Warehouse membership clubs (26%)
Home electronics stores (26%)
Deloitte Vice Chairman Rod Sides said: “This decline in digital usage for BTC could be a sign that consumers desire innovation with their digital shopping interaction and an opportunity for retailers to define innovation at the intersection of technology, engagement, and decision making in the coming years.”