GVR Report cover Back To College Market Size, Share & Trends Report

Back To College Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Product (Clothing & Accessories, Electronics, Dorm/Apartment Furnishings, Stationery Supplies), By Distribution Channel, By Region, And Segment Forecasts, 2022 - 2028

  • Report ID: GVR-4-68039-926-4
  • Number of Pages: 80
  • Format: Electronic (PDF)

Report Overview

The global back to college market size was valued at USD 358.6 billion in 2021 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.2% from 2022 to 2028. The development of the market is driven by the increasing enrollment within the college and rising interest in pursuing higher education.

U.S. Back To College Market Size, By Product, 2019 - 2028 (USD Billion)

Growing college / educational institutions, their expansion and continually increasing investments in infrastructure are the factors, that positively impact the college enrollments, subsequently fueling the market growth.

Enlargement of the market is furthermore facilitated by the improvements and developments in the retail industry during the forecast period.

The outbreak of COVID--19 impacted the sales of college products and services during the first few months, however, didn’t affect the annual sales. Following the declaration of the pandemic, impacted nations imposed total lockdown, resulting in the closure of colleges. Classes were transferred to the online model, which resulted in a drop in the sale of back-to-college supplies.

According to the National Retail Federation, in 2021 families spent USD 141.0 more compared to in 2020, per household on college products and supplies. The market is expected to experience healthy and steady growth, during the forecast period, as colleges are reopening to offline mode of learning in the feat of restoration of normalcy. 

As enrollment in graduate and post-graduate colleges is increasing, market growth is facilitated by the increasing spending on college supplies. The importance of post-school education is rising all over the world since this plays a significant role in career and employment. For instance, according to European Higher Education Area key data, the number of students is continuously rising, between 2000 and 2017, there was a 90.0% increase in the total enrollment.

Market growth is restrained by the declining demand for stationery supplies, such as writing supplies. Consumers as well as the classrooms are becoming techno-savvy. Due to the rising trend of smart classrooms, the use of electronic gadgets is increasing. The rising use of electronic devices is subsequently declining the demand for stationery supplies and hinders market growth.

Additionally, colleges in the developed countries are increasingly implementing the trend of recycling, reusing, reduce, with an aim to help lessen the environmental burden. The rising trend is anticipated to affect the growth of the market during the forecast period. For instance, in the U.S. many colleges and universities are implementing programs and focusing on sustainable green campuses. This is carried out by recycling electronic waste, organizing thrift stores, etc.

Increasing consumer preference for comfort and convenience is boosting the demand for online channels as consumers tend to spend more time on electronic gadgets and do shopping. The online distribution channel is expected to present promising opportunities for the key players in the global market. The number of users for social networking sites plus other informational and surfing websites has risen as internet penetration is much higher.  

Additionally, Gen z is going to be the main customer of the back to college market during the forecast period which spends most of the time on smartphones and other devices. To attract potential customers, key players are focusing on extensive marketing on social media platforms, personalized enticing offers, data-driven insight, etc.

Product Insights

In the global back to the college market, the clothing & accessories segment of the product is dominated by the revenue share. The clothing & accessories segment retained around 30.0% of the market revenue share in 2021. The higher revenue share of the segment is attributed to the higher spending on clothes, collegiate gear, shoes, college bags, and other accessories. The growing popularity of collegiate clothing and gear and rise in spending is also credited for higher segment market share. The clothing &  accessories segment of the product is expected to show promising growth during the forecast period owing to growth in fast fashion.

In the global back to the college market, the electronics segment of the product is expected to register the highest growth rate during the forecast period with a CAGR of 4.8% on a revenue basis. The increasing popularity of electronic devices and the increasing craze for smartphones along with wearable devices among the college youth is significantly fueling the growth of the segment.

Among the wearable devices, smartwatches and fitness bands are gaining substantial demand. The use of electronic devices by college students is expected to grow over the forecast period, owing to the rising inclination towards smart gadgets. Furthermore, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak, the usage of laptops, desktops, and cell phones has surged as classrooms have shifted to an online format.

The dorm/apartment furnishings segment is anticipated to register a CAGR of 4.5% during the forecast period. Desk lamps, bedding, chair or beanbags, desk essentials, etc. are the products that are mostly purchased. Dorm/apartment furnishings are greatly influenced by social media and online influencers. Key players are continuously strategizing to cater to the ever-changing demands of the consumers. For instance, Target Corp. launched a new mobile tool specifically for college-going shoppers. The app acts as an interior designer that links with social media and provides interactive solutions for merchandise.

Distribution Channel Insights

The offline distribution channel segment dominated the global market in 2021. In 2021, on the basis of revenue, an offline segment of the distribution channel accounted largest market share of over 55.0%. This offline distribution channel includes brick & mortar sales channels such as specialty stores, department stores, convenience stores, dollar stores, etc. The greater market share of the segment is credited to the higher consumer preference.

This distribution channel is a well and long-established channel plus it is widely available and accessible, as compared to the online channel. Offline channels enable the surety and product authenticity and enable consumer verification of the product, which is attributable to higher consumer preference for the offline channel and higher market share.

Global Back To College Market Share, By Distribution Channel, 2021 (%)

In the global back to college market, the online segment is anticipated to record a robust and strong growth rate. During the forecast period, the online segment is expected to witness a CAGR of 4.9% on a revenue basis. The highest growth rate by the segment is highly attributed to the increasing consumer preference, contributed mostly by the younger generation, i.e. gen Z. This generation is techno-savvy and dependent on digital solutions and apps.

Increasing digitization and improvements in technology facilitate the growth of the online segment. Also, the emergence of the online retailers and the adoption of online channels by existing retailers also fuels the segment growth. For instance, Office Depot’s has launched online ordering and in-store or curbside pickup service.

Regional Insights

In the global back to the college market, Asia Pacific accounted for the highest market share in 2021, capturing over 35.0% share by revenue. The higher market share of the region is mainly attributed to the high population which is contributed significantly by India and China. The widespread presence of educational institutes across the region is also contributing to the market share.

Moreover, consumer sentiments related to the greater importance of higher education in the region are also credited for the higher enrollment in graduate and post-graduate colleges. The higher college enrollment in the region is significantly credited for the higher market share of the region.

Europe is anticipated to witness a strong growth rate during the forecast period. Europe is estimated to register a CAGR of 4.3% on a revenue basis, ranking 2nd in the global market. The increasing population in the region is significantly attributed to the market growth.

During the last decade, students have been migrating into the region for graduation and post-graduation studies, mainly from Asian countries. This contributes to the increasing demand for the back to college products and is anticipated to drive the growth of the market during the forecast period. Additionally, market enlargement in the region is attributed to the development in the retail sector, both offline and online retail, facilitated by the geographical expansion and increasing presence of the key players.

Key Companies & Market Share Insights

The market is highly fragmented. It is characterized by the presence of international key players and small/medium local players. Key global players focus on extensive product innovation and product launches, to attract consumers and increase revenue share. Partnership, merger & acquisition, and joint agreements are the strategies being adopted by the key players to facilitate geographic penetration and increase consumer reach.

With the increasing consumer reach and accessibility, the key player aims to increase their share in the global market. For instance, Acco Brands Corp. acquired GOBA International in July 2018. With this acquisition, the company aimed to increase its presence in Central America and enhanced its competitive position. Some of the prominent players in the global back to college market include :

  • The ODP Corporation

  • Amazon.com, Inc.

  • Acco Brands Corporation

  • Staples Inc.

  • Apple Inc.

  • HP Inc.

  • Faber Castell AG

  • Newell Brands Inc.

  • ITC Ltd.

  • Mitsubishi Pencil Co. Ltd.

Back To College Market Report Scope

Report Attribute


Market size value in 2022

USD 374.7 billion

Revenue forecast in 2028

USD 479.7 billion

Growth rate

CAGR of 4.2% from 2022 to 2028

Base year for estimation


Historical data

2017 - 2020

Forecast period

2022 - 2028

Quantitative units

Revenue in USD million/billion,  CAGR from 2022 to 2028

Report coverage

Revenue forecast, company ranking, competitive landscape, growth factors, trends

Segments covered

Product, distribution channel, region

Regional scope

North America; Europe; Asia Pacific; Central & South America; Middle East & Africa

Country scope

U.S.; Canada; U.K.; Germany; France; China; India; Japan; Brazil; Argentina; Saudi Arabia; South Africa

Key companies profiled

The ODP Corporation; Amazon.com, Inc.; Acco Brands Corporation; Staples Inc.; Apple Inc.; HP Inc.; Faber Castell AG; Newell Brands Inc.; ITC Ltd.; Mitsubishi Pencil Co. Ltd.

Customization scope

Free report customization (equivalent up to 8 analysts’ working days) with purchase. Addition or alteration to country, regional & segment scope.

Pricing and purchase options

Avail customized purchase options to meet your exact research needs. Explore purchase options


Segments Covered in the Report

This report forecasts revenue growth at global, regional, and country levels and provides an analysis of the latest industry trends in each of the sub-segments from 2017 to 2028. For this study, Grand View Research has segmented the global back to college market report based on the  product, distribution channel, and region:

  • Product Outlook (Revenue USD Million, 2017 - 2028)

    • Clothing & Accessories

    • Electronics

    • Dorm/Apartment Furnishings

    • Stationery supplies

    • Other

  • Distribution Channel Outlook (Revenue USD Million, 2017 - 2028)

    • Online

    • Offline

  • Regional Outlook (Revenue USD Million, 2017 - 2028)

    • North America

      • U.S.

      • Canada

    • Europe

      • U.K.

      • Germany

      • France

    • Asia Pacific

      • China

      • India

      • Japan

    • Central & South America

      • Brazil

      • Argentina

    • Middle East & Africa

      • Saudi Arabia

      • South Africa

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