The Back-to-School season has begun and spending is more focused on College campuses than ever before.

Statistics from the National Retail Federation have shown that Back-to-College spending (collaborating numbers on returning students as well as new arrivals) is due to hit an all-time high this year of $54.1 billion.

This is a great time to reach out to both parents and prospective students alike, as it will be these two groups that make up a significant portion of the back-to-school shopping season, the second biggest retail season after the Christmas holiday season.

Despite the rising costs of education, college enrolment has been increasing annually for five years; with nearly 21 million students flocking their way to campuses this September. Brands who chose to target these newly minted consumers with a fun, exciting on-campus campaign could win over a new class of learners, who will be forming spending habits that could last for the rest of their lives.

Worried parents will be wanting to ensure that their kids have the very best start in their new life away from home. Where they choose to purchase their goods varies. Unsurprisingly for this demographic, college consumers are planning on doing the bulk of their shopping online (44.1%) however, a large chunk of initial purchases will still be taken by discount stores and department stores. Local businesses can benefit from a boost in sales by offering meaningful in-store deals and discounts for parents – whereas bigger companies can offer sales online to attract the custom of savvy Millennial shoppers.

In this busy commercial period, you might be surprised how much sway students have in these spending decisions.

Deloitte have published results from their own survey, conducted this year, which detailed how students and their parents plan to do their shopping – with the results revealing that the student often has a significant influence over where and what they shop. 68% of a sample size of 1,025 confirmed that 50-100% of their shopping is influenced in some way by their children, proving that the holder of the purse strings does not necessarily have full autonomy over the purchasing decision.

Whilst the campuses are thronging with arriving and returning students, we can manage and deploy a team of brand ambassadors in high traffic positions to distribute non-traditional media, such as samples, posters and door hangers. Students are highly social and more responsive to relationship-based styles of selling, making our Brand Ambassadors particularly effective in starting a dialogue and cementing trust with your brand or product.

It’s never too late to make the most of this upwardly mobile spending group.

Despite some statistics suggesting that consumers plan their Back-to-College shopping up to two months ahead of schedule, the NRF found that only 12.4% of these consumers have their shopping completed before terms starts – meaning that there’s plenty of opportunity for your brands to represent their value on campus and win over good will that could last well beyond graduation day.

Your brand can benefit from commanding a presence on campus during the opening months of the college semester. Whether it’s through our College Sorority Network or Dorm Room Distribution; heavy on-campus traffic, as a result of students exploring their new surroundings and attending social events, makes the Back-to-College shopping season an ideal time to form a wide array of meaningful relationships with an empowered, highly social and experimental consumer.