"Off to University in the United Kingdom (UK) 2020 - Consumer Dynamics and Spending Habits" report forms part of the Retail Occasions series, and offers a comprehensive overview of the retail occasion of students starting and returning back to university, analysing the market, the major players, the main trends and consumer attitudes.


  • The COVID-19 pandemic has strongly influenced university teaching methods, as well as students’ accommodation plans, resulting in a shift in the categories needed for university.
  • 59.0% of consumers preferred to purchase branded products, an increase of 8.6 ppts, as high-quality products rise in importance.
  • The proportion of consumers purchasing items for university online increased by 4.7 ppts to 40.1%, making it the most popular channel for purchasing. With many consumers avoiding physical stores due to the risk of COVID-19, online has risen in importance.

Reasons To Buy

  • Use our in-depth consumer insight to learn which off to university categories are shopped the most by consumers and to ensure that product offerings are catering to the needs and wants of customers.
  • Understand what drives consumers to use a retailer for their purchases, such as convenience, value for money and delivery options in order to maximise sales potential.
  • Use our in-depth analysis to understand which retailers are leading in certain off to university categories.
  • Understand the impact of COVID-19 on university arrangements and spend, as well as drivers for the change