The Definitive Guide to College Holiday Shopping Trends

College students spend over $400 billion each year. And, 40% of that cash going to entertainment, technology, clothes, cosmetics, and other discretionary purchases. What more shocking than their annual spending? How little they plan to spend on holiday shopping.

Despite the huge sums undergrads spend, don’t expect them to be shopping for gifts this holiday season. We surveyed a over 1000 college students and over 50% of respondents said they have budgeted just $50-150 dollars for holiday gifts this year. Maybe they’d be spending more if they had more? The number one item students told us they want for Christmas is money.

Well, just because college kids aren’t going to be shopping doesn’t mean they don’t have some extensive wish-lists. Not sure what to get your fickle college student when he or she comes home to visit this year? Don’t guess, we already asked.

Here’s the top 10 coolest big-ticket gifts for college student’s:

1) Hoverboards Will Win The Holiday

  • Prediction: Hoverboards for the win
  • Cost: $400+

In case this is the first time you’ve been online this year, hoverboards are exploding right now and they are THE must-have this holiday season.

Take it easy McFly – we’re not talking about THAT hoverboard. Well, we were talking about that kind. Can I get a shout out for October 21, 2015? (check out best Halloween outfit of the year, BTW)

bieber-winningWe’re talking about the two-wheeled hoverboards you’ve seen everyone from John Legend to Justin Bieber posting pictures of themselves riding on Instagram. Segway finally hit the mark with these personal transportation devices and students wants to get their hands – err, feet on one.

Just imagine how slick you’d look rolling into class while everyone else uses their legs like a sucker. These puppies weigh in at just 25 pounds and clock in at 10 mph. Did we mention you don’t have to peddle or kick?
We predict hoverboards will be the hottest item of the season for college kids…just don’t expect a discount. They’re rolling off the shelves with or without you.

2) Tickets Make The World Come True

Everyone thinks college student just want to latest, greatest Kickstarter gadgets. Well, you know what they want even more? Experiences. We’re talking concert tickets, a flight to another country for NYE, scuba diving lessons, skydiving…This generation dreams big!

Keep an eye on Travelzoo and last-minute deals on the booking sites. Travel costs can be hard to predict because each booking is different. Don’t have a destination in mind? No problem. Use Kayak’s explore feature, which let’s you pick a destination airport and browse prices to destinations worldwide.

3) iPhone 6 in Demand

  • Prediction: Students want an iPhone more than any other smart-phone or Apple device.
  • Cost: $299+

People will line-up in the freezing cold, ready to rush in a store the moment it’s doors crack open, to snatch up the latest Apple release any time of year. Black Friday rush? Apple fans are ready.

Apple brought us the first iMac in 1998,  iPod in 2001, iPhone in 2007, and iPad in 2010. This season’s models include the iPad Air, Mini, and Pro, iPhone 6, and the Apple Watch, which will have you rivaling James Bond himself when it comes to cool.

So which one do students want? Our research says student want an iPhone the most.

Bonus tip: Apple tends to be more of a “here’s a bonus” than a “here’s a discount” kind of company. You can always check with MacMall or a third party for a Black Friday or Cyber Monday deal. But, you ain’t getting one from Apple who’s more likely to offer you a $100 gift card than $5 off.  

4) College Kids Make Comfy, Casual Clothes The Norm

Clothes came in second as the most common answer when students told us what they want.

If you don’t know about Chubbies, they’re basically THE SHORT for college dudes. Bright, colorful, fun, and hiking up to right around mid-thigh. Guaranteed to bring some smiles.

Sign ‘em up for a subscription to MeUndies while you’re at it. Doing laundry is hard and this guarantees the fellas will start each month with at least one new, clean, designer pair.

Yoga pants have been established as an indispensable part of women’s wardrobes. There not just here to stay, they’ve gone wild. It’s time to up your yoga-pant game with some flashy patterns. You’ll never go wrong with some Lululemon, but if you’re looking for something with more pizazz try Etsy for an endless array of patterns.

You know what never goes out of style? A rockin’ leather jacket. These puppies look make great gifts for men and women. If you’re lucky enough to get one, it will be a mainstay in your closet well past graduation.

5) Toiletries. Who Knew They Were So Expensive?

Hygiene is important. Don’t get stuck picking between buying a Chipotle burrito or new shampoo. Sure, you can shower at the gym, but do you really want to?

The wish list includes:

  • Sonicare toothbrush (game changer), $39
  • Biotherm Face Wash, $29
  • Clarisonic Mia 2, $149
  • BB Cream, $10
  • Dry Shampoo, $15
  • Leave in conditioner, $19
  • Urban Decay Vice 4 Eyeshadow Palette, $69

6) Boosted Board Takes Crown as Most Coveted

  • Prediction: This is the only thing that will make your friend who got a hoverboard jealous.
  • Cost: $999+

If you’ve spent any time in San Francisco, New York, or other major cities – you’ve probably seen someone riding a skateboard incomprehensibly quickly, up a hill, with no effort, and totally stable. More than likely, that rider was cruising on a boosted board.

Just don’t expect a great deal on these for holiday season. They’re so popular they have been backordered for much of the year. The best you can hope for is to get one before Christmas. Get one of these for the action-sports lover in your family and you’ll be a rockstar for life!

7) DJI Phantom 3 Sales Soar

  • Prediction: This is the last year to get one of these bad-boys and put it in the air with no frills attached.
  • Cost: $599
  • Saving: $200 Off at Best Buy

Get ‘em while you can! The FAA plans to rewrite the rules on drone regulation, so you’ll want to get your hands on one while you still can. The DJI Phantom 3 is the most trusted name on the market. Seriously, nearly every awesome drone video you’ve seen since 2013 has been shot on a Phantom. And, you should be able to snag a great deal on one the Black Friday.

8) Video Games Basically Mean Christmas

  • Prediction: Video game systems are a hit
  • Cost: $199 – $349
  • Saving: $25 – 50

Video games have been a top seller every year since the 1980s and 2015 won’t be any different. Expect to find great deals on the Wii U, Xbox One, and PS4. You’ll find low prices on systems, bundles with the hottest games, and low-prices on the newest titles.

9) Kitchen Appliances Provide a Major Upgrade

Here’s a list of appliances that will transform your student’s life:

  1. A Keurig coffee maker to power those all-nighters, $79+
  2. A Nutribullet to blend up smoothies, salad dressings, hummus, and mixed drinks, $79
  3. Sodastream for fancy bubbly drinks, $99
  4. Tupperware makes cold pizza last so much longer than the counter…$19+

They are for sale EVERYWHERE. Shop around and find the best deal.

10) Money. Just Show Me The Money

Trusty me. This is what college students want the most. Save the stress of shopping and just pony up some cash. Students know how to spend it on what they want.

Low Budget Options

The idea of dropping a few hundred dollars on gifts not in the cards? Well, there’s plenty of deals for a fraction of the cost. Check out our quick list of 3 budget gift ideas for college students.

  • Fanny Packs – so functional, so hot right now.
  • Selfie Sticks – ‘cause you look good and everyone deserves to see.
  • Cards Against Humanity – “_____: Hours of Fun. Easy to Use. Perfecto for ______!”

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