Back-to-College: 37 Must-See Facts about College Move-In

37 Facts About College Move In

It’s that time of year: Back-to-College. Field Agent recently surveyed 152 college students relocating to a new place (e.g., dorm room, apartment) to attend Fall 2015 classes. With Back-to-College spending projected to exceed $43 billion this year, here we offer 37 interesting and important facts about college move-in and beyond. Think of it as College Students 101. 

College students are storming back onto campuses across the country. And as they do, they spend money—lots of money—on furnishings, décor, clothes, electronics, food supplies and, in general, a wide assortment of necessary (and not so necessary) merchandise.

According to the National Retail Federation, total back-to-college spending is expected to reach approximately $43 billion this year. Moreover, in terms of overall purchase power, 21.6 million U.S. college students account for $545 billion in annual spending (source: Reuters).

Marketing to this small but powerful consumer segment is clearly important.

Over the weekend Field Agent surveyed 152 college students, all 18-24 years of age. To qualify for the study, students had to be moving into a new place (e.g., dormitory, apartment) to attend fall classes.

So get schooled, and make the most of these 37 fast facts about college students and their 2015 Back-to-College spending:

$874.15 - Average amount college students plan on spending to furnish, decorate, and supply their dorm room or other new place. Whoa, that’s a lot.1. $874.15 - Average amount college students plan on spending to furnish, decorate, and supply their dorm room or other new place. Whoa, that’s a lot.

2. 43% - Number of college students in our survey who said they’re moving into a new place for the first time.

3. 89% - Of students are excited to be shopping for their new place


4. 24% - On the other hand, are frustrated as they search for furnishings and supplies.

5. 74% - Do their back-to-college shopping at Walmart and Target.  The two retail giants tied in our survey for the top places college students buy furnishings and supplies for their new places.  


6. 66% - But Amazon wasn’t too far behind.

7. PRICE – Cited by college students as the most important factor in shopping for furnishings/décor.


8. QUALITY – Ranked a close second.


9. BRAND NAME – However, came in last place of five options total.

See Also: It’s the Preseason! 5 Stats to Prepare for Holiday Shoppers

With Mobile Market Research, you can be on-location with the demos that matter most to your business—when and where the action is happening. Be there when kids are unwrapping your products at Christmas or Moms are placing your products in brown bag lunches. To illustrate, we asked college students to take photos of their newly-furnished rooms.

we asked college students to take photos of their newly-furnished rooms.

10. 44% - Identified price as their top frustration when shopping for furnishings/decor. Like this student from Geneva, New York: “Everything is so expensive!”

11. 34% - Cited availability of items as their top frustration.

12. 52% - Said they will shop for back-to-college clothes at Target, the top retailer among college students shopping for attire.

13. 37% - T.J. Maxx was a surprising second to Target, among 27 retailers total.
 
42% - Will shop for clothes at thrift or consignment stores.14. 42% - Will shop for clothes at thrift or consignment stores.

15. 54% - Purchased at least some of their back-to-college clothing from a nonphysical location, including Amazon, eBay, The Clymb, and QVC.
 
16. 64% - Percent who said they’ll mostly eat meals prepared at their own place this school year.

17. 25% - Indicated they will eat most of their meals at an on-campus cafeteria/dining hall.
 
18. 70% - Number who use retail apps (e.g., Amazon, Zappos) on their smartphone.

19. 1% - Said they didn’t have smartphones. Resistance is futile.
 
20. 100% - Reported weekly usage of at least one social media program.

21. 88% - Percent of college students who said they use Facebook weekly, making it the number one social media platform in the study. 

22. 76% - Instagram came in second.

23. 70% - Snapchat in third.

24. 49% - Twitter fourth. Tweet, tweet.

25. 36% - And Pinterest fifth, with Tumbler, Vine, and Google+ lagging behind.
 
26. 56% - Follow brands or retailers on social media.

27. 42% - Use Amazon's retail app, which puts the company first among retail apps in our study of college students.

28. 8% - Reported using Walmart's app.
 
42% - Will shop for clothes at thrift or consignment stores.29. 63% - Percent who said they often or sometimes used their smartphone or other smart device to purchase 2015 back-to-college clothing/footwear.

30. 49% - Regularly used a smart device to purchase furnishing/décor for their new place this year.

31. 36% - Bought groceries/snacks for their new place on their smart devices (often or sometimes). But 43% said they never purchase food supplies in this way. 
 
32. 92% - Number who said college student discounts are at least moderately influential to their purchase decisions.

33. 46% - Said student discounts are extremely influential
 
34. 86% - Percent of college students who said it’s at least moderately important for companies they buy from to be socially responsible.

35. 24% - Said it’s extremely important.
 
36. $100.45 – The average amount of spending money students in our survey said they'll receive on a monthly basis this school year (not including money for school-related expenses).

37. 78% - Said they’ll earn their "pocket money" by working a job

The results clearly suggest college students are connected to their mobile devices. So if you’re in the business of serving college students, or Millennials in general, Field Agent has a strong presence on-campus or wherever else you may find young people.

We combine mobile technology and crowdsourcing to deliver fast, affordable research and audit solutions. And with over half a million agents across the country, we can easily and quickly home in on specific consumer segments. So whether it’s transitory college students or vacationing Boomers, we tap into the demos that drive your business.

Get More Back-to-School Insights in this 2016 Report. Get 25 pages on: the influence of children on BTS purchases, retailers families consider go-to destinations, the role of online shopping.