Back to College deals: Why college freshmen should hold off

By Alexandra TendlerRetailFOXBusiness

College dorm shopping dominates the back-to-school industry and as the deals heat up this summer, so is the overall cost of school supplies for incoming students. 

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The National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts back-to-college costs will amount to $54.1 billion of a projected $83.6 billion for the back-to-school season, which is up from last year’s $48.5 billion for college students and $75.8 billion in total sales.

On average, parents will spend $1,347 on back-to-college sales and students will spend $1,051 this year, according to a survey conducted by Deloitte.

In-store purchases continue to remain the preferred retail choice according to the NRF, but online shopping has become increasingly popular among students and is expected to account for 44.1% of sales in 2017, rising from 37.5% in 2016.

However, Deloitte reports that college students are steering away from traditional department stores and heading to mass-merchant, off-price, and discount stores. 

While school supplies and clothing items continue to dominate in quantity of sales, technology gadgets make up the largest portion of parent and students’ budgets.  41% of parents plan to purchase a laptop or other tech gadget for their child, and they will spend $648, on average.

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Incoming college students are also buying school supplies earlier than ever before with as many as 32% shopping two months before the start of school, according to the NRF. In 2016, only 26% of students purchased their supplies at this time.

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