retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Business Insider has a piece about a new National Retail federation (NRF) survey saying that college students are spending more than $900 apiece to customize their dormitory rooms - a spending pattern that adds up to a $50 billion annual market.

Two interesting things in the story - that the spending is at least in part "spurred by obsessive parents," and that it seems to be immune from economic ups and downs.

Now, I think this may be one of those cases where the survey could have gone a little deeper.

For example, does "customizing a dorm room" include computers and flat screen television sets? If so, that explains the number. If not, I suspect that their may be some demographic trends....

We just took our youngest child to college. She's our third, and only daughter.

And it would be my observation that if the average is about $900, it is that high largely because girls make up half the college population.

When we took our two boys to college, they would have been reasonably happy if we'd thrown their clothes in a big garbage bag and their toiletries in a cardboard box, and sent them on their way.

My daughter, not so much. I've been to Broadway productions that were lower-key than this effort.

And I would say one other thing, which you can interpret anyway you want.

The problem is not "obsessive parents." All you really need is one obsessive parent...

Trust me. It's been an Eye-Opener.
KC's View: