Backpacks, Budgets, and Back-to-School

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National Association of College Stores Looks at College Student Shopping

A recent student panel survey conducted by OnCampus Research, the research arm of indiCo, a division of the National Association of College Stores, took a look at the shopping habits and preferences of college students as many return to campus this month. A few of the findings:

  •     College students budgeted an average of $447.75 for back-to-college shopping, not including textbooks.
  •     However, while college students consider price the most important factor when deciding what to purchase for back-to-school, the majority either do not set, or stick to, a budget. When asked, 38.6% indicated they set a budget, yet don’t always stick to it, 34.3% do not set a budget, and 27.1% say they both set a budget and stick to it.
  •     The majority (55.8%) of students do most of their back-to-school shopping a few weeks before classes start. Only 2.2% wait until the day of classes to shop.
  •     The backpack is the preferred mode of transportation of books and supplies for college students. Among the various styles, 70.9% prefer a backpack to carry to class, 10.4% chose a tote, and 8.5% like the messenger style bag. And when ranking the factors that go into making their bag purchasing decision, 45.5% chose functionality over price and comfort.

About NACS
Headquartered in Oberlin, Ohio, the National Association of College Stores (NACS) is the professional trade association representing the $10 billion collegiate retailing industry. NACS represents nearly 3,000 collegiate retailers and approximately 1,000 associate members who supply books and other products to college stores. NACS member stores serve America’s college students while supporting the academic missions of higher education institutions everywhere. Additional information on NACS can be found online at

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Charles Schmidt
National Association of College Stores
(800) 622-7498
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