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Occasions
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[dsm_block_reveal_text block_reveal_text=”2024 At-Home
Entertaining
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College Bound

The leaving for college occasion is a particular one with its own dynamics. Of consumers polled for the Occasions Survey, 18% said they are likely to be part of a leaving for college event for family or friends over the next year, with 11% anticipating one for themselves, each up three points year over year in each case.

In the upcoming 12 months, 19% of Occasions Survey participants said they believed they would likely purchase a home or housewares gift in conjunction with a leaving for college event, up a few points from 2023.

Organization or home décor products are the top merchandise category when it comes to leaving for college home and housewares gift consideration at 13%, followed by bedroom at 11%, cleaning or home environment at 11%, bathroom or personal care at 10% and kitchen at 9%. Still, at 53%, consumers are most likely to purchase a leaving for college gift card versus a specific gift at 38%.

As for leaving for college gift timing, 39% of consumers expect to purchase home and housewares presents in the July to September period, with April to June second at 18%.

With 34% prepared for an event among family and friends in the year forward and 24% for themselves, consumers 18 to 34 are the most likely by several points to anticipate a leaving for college occasion.

For your friends and family, how likely is it, if at all, that leaving for college will take place at least once?

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For leaving for college, are you more likely to buy a gift card or a specific gift?

Among income demographics, the likelihood of a leaving for college occasion skews toward the affluent but less dramatically than might be expected, with five points separating households earning more than $100,000 from those earning less than $50,000.

Consumers 35 to 44 are most likely to purchase a gift card for a leaving for college occasion, at 60%, followed by those 45-64, at 53%.

What general product categories of home and housewares gifts would you be likely to purchase for leaving for college? (Select all that apply)

Consumers 18-34 also are most likely to plan on purchasing a leaving for college home and housewares gift at 32% versus the next most likely, 35-to 44-year-olds, at 21%.

Women, at 56%, are seven points more likely to purchase a leaving for college gift card than men.

For yourself, how likely is it, if at all, that leaving for college will take place at least once in the next 12 months?

In the next 12 months, how likely is it, if at all, that you will purchase a home and housewares gift for leaving for college?

Middle-income consumers living in households earning between $50,000 and $100,000 are most likely to purchase a leaving for college gift card, at 64%, nine points more than is the case for more affluent consumers.

Final Thoughts

With challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic and costs facing them, fewer potential students have been entering college, but the numbers may be turning around. According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, undergraduate enrollment declines are slowing, and community college enrollment increased in the spring of 2022, the latest period for which the organization produced figures. Graduate-level enrollment continues to slip, however.

Of course, colleges recruiting students face certain pressures, particularly as pay scales have shifted so that young people in many communities have opportunities to earn living wages at jobs in transportation, delivery and retail, among others, which may discourage them from attending college right out of high school. Still, about 16 million people enrolled in undergraduate college programs, four-year and community, in Spring 2022. With 16 million students in undergraduate education by the last available estimate, the leaving for college occasion is an ongoing opportunity.

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