By Steve Holt, Opinion Editor
It’s going to be a green Christmas for college students this year.
Eight days into the official 2002 Christmas shopping season, most 18-24 year olds say they will spend as much or more on gifts as they did last year.
Eighty-six percent of college-aged respondents in an International Council of Shopping Centers survey say they will spend at least the same amount of money as they did in 2001.
Forty percent say they will spend more.
Some ACU students predict they will fall in the latter category.
Evan Lawson, freshman business management major from North Richland Hills, said he will probably spend more than last year because he was on a cruise for some of the holiday season.
“I wasn’t really home last year,” Lawson said. “I figure I’m going to think about it a little more this year because I’ll be in the states.”
Holly Lewis, senior public relations and Spanish major from Philadelphia, said her wallet will be a little lighter because some gifts on her list are more pricey.
“I have some specific things I want to get people this year,” Lewis said. “They will be a little more expensive.”
Lewis is ready for the increased spending, however, after saving for three months. Other students have not been so lucky, and expect to spend less than last year.
“I don’t have a whole lot of money to spend on my family,” said Colin Hanson, freshman business management major from Plano. Hanson said his parents told him not to buy them gifts but to save his money for college needs. He added that he will still buy them something, just not a lot.
Natalie Soto, freshman undeclared major from Houston, joins Hanson in the category of not having enough cash.
“That’s a definite negative because I am poor this year,” Soto said.
Other students will spend less by their own choice.
“I will probably spend less because I am doing more creative things for gifts this year,” said Bryan Weber, senior political science major from Blanco. “I’m going to make some stuff in the shop with wood.”
According to ICSC studies, online shopping is still slow in catching on with consumers.
Even among 18-24 year olds, only 7 percent say most of their shopping this season will be on the Web. Thirty-nine percent of the 18-24 category say they will do most of their shopping at the mall, which has been the trend for that age group.
ACU students are saying that when it comes to online shopping, it just depends on the desired gift.
Weber said he will be buying tickets online. Lewis said she will be shopping for her parents’ gifts online.
“I am buying bath stuff for my mom,” Lewis said. “My dad wants car parts because he’s rebuilding a car. It is easier to find those online.”
Avoiding the malls, she said, is her main reason for surfing the Web for gifts.
“That way I don’t have to go to the store, mess with the crowds, search for a parking space,” Lewis said. “And I can pay with a credit card.”
The lack of a credit card is what keeps Soto shopping the old fashioned way. Peace of mind is the reason Hanson doesn’t shop online.
“I’d rather be there to by it,” he said.
While college-aged adults say they will spend an estimated $666 each on presents this holiday season, they are saying they don’t need their high-speed modem to do so.
And experts say that rock-bottom prices this Christmas season will benefit consumers and hurt retailers.
And for college students, lower prices is a reason to celebrate. Or spend more.