Future of Retail: Spending Strategies

December 06, 2017


spending strategies



How can retailers win the college market this holiday season? Understand your customers’ spending strategies.


This year’s holiday shopping season is predicted to be one of the best in recent memory, thanks in part to a growing economy, low unemployment and an increase in consumer spending. With positive predictions that shoppers will be spending more this year, what can retailers expect from student consumers? In the third part of our Future of Retail series, “Spending Strategies” examines college students’ shopping plans for the holidays.


Who’s on the List?

With such an optimistic holiday forecast, how much are students budgeting for gifts this season and who will they spend their money on? On average, students estimate they’ll spend about $260 on holiday presents, according to the Barnes & Noble College Insightssm Future of Retail study. And college students who plan on giving gifts this year expect to be generous with their family and friends — and to themselves. Most students (93%) expect to buy gifts for others — while one in three students expects to buy gifts for him or herself. Other findings include:


• 21% of students will shop from a list.
• 16% will buy gifts on impulse.
• 63% will shop using a combination of both.
• 86% of students will wrap their own gifts.


Taking these findings into account and integrating them into a holiday strategy will help retailers better connect with student consumers. The Future of Retail report sheds light on ways retailers can reach and keep Millennial and Gen Z shoppers. Here are some important takeaways from the “Spending Strategies” survey to consider:


Use social media to your advantage — During the holidays, leverage social media to drive sales. Not only engage with customers through social media, but also use these platforms to announce sales, promotions, and events.

Offer promotions — Make your store stand out during the holidays by offering great promotions on merchandise your customers will want to buy for people on their list — and for themselves.

“Decorate” your landing page — Get into the season by “decorating” your home page for the holidays. The first thing your customers should see are your holiday offers and promotions. Curate gift ideas to make it easier for students to shop and impulse buy.

Email still works — Emails resonate with college consumers. Enhance holiday emails by following a few best practices: optimize for mobile, send at the right time and craft eye-catching subject lines.


Next month, we’ll explore how students see education as an investment in the Future of Retail: Education Spending.



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