Friday, 20 September 2013

Students Buying Behavior

Students (or 18 to 24 year olds) might not be the age group with the most pocket money, but don’t let that fool you; they are avid spenders, especially when it comes to certain products – the latest gadgets, alcoholic beverages (beer, beer and more beer!), clothes, furniture, school supplies and take out, among others. Plus there are approximately 2.5 million students in the UK (HESA) – a number too large not to take into account

This age group is very important for several reasons:
  • They hold a huge buying power
  • They are very influential among other age groups 
  • They have their whole lives in front of them where they might get higher paying jobs and they will continue to buy and consume

Students and other younger age groups are big mobile consumers – they are much more likely to use their smartphones for consuming content, browsing the web, using social media and purchasing goods and services.


The previous graph shows just how big a part mobile is in the lives of student consumers. As you can see, 18 to 24 year olds are part of the most likely age group to read posts from organisations, brands and events on social media, to click on advertisements and to receive coupons, offers and deal for various businesses.

UK consumers in general are using their mobile devices (smartphones, tablets) increasingly more to make purchases online, even more than they use desktop computers (RichRelevance,  Internet Retailing). Students, being one of the most tech-savvy consumer age group, are the most likely to use their mobile devices for these reasons.

Young adults and students are also more likely than older people to buy take out and ready meals and eat out, because they are either trying to save time or simply don’t enjoy cooking (International Markets Bureau).  Students are also more likely to go out more and socialise, leading them to purchase beverages (coffee, tea, soft drinks, etc.) while out, as well as grab snacks and ready meals from their local cafes and restaurants.

While students can be very brand conscious, especially when it comes to technology and gadgets, they are more likely to search for the best deals when it comes to perishable goods, such as food and beverages. Since their incomes are lower than with older age groups, they are also more likely to take part in loyalty programs, and look online for and use offers, deals and coupons.

Students are also big drinkers – reports found that students spend approximately £3.2 billion on nights out in pubs and bars, meaning that “one in ten of all drinks sold in pubs, bars and clubs during term time is bought by a student” (The Beans Group). The report also found that students “will trade up whenever they can and have a sharp awareness of premium products, often seen as an occasional treat” and that “the modern student population is increasingly diverse with a growing proportion seeking to indulge their luxury tastes on a limited budget” (Kylie Poole, CGA). This shows that students aren’t always put off by bigger prices if they feel like they are getting more value out of it.

An interesting fact about the majority of the UK’s student population is that they can be very loyal to the brands they use: 65% say that “I know and trust the products I use now and am likely to keep using most of them” (Youth Marketing Insights, The Beans Group). This also shows that if brands want more customer loyalty, they should try to capture more students’ attention.

The same report also found that, perhaps unsurprisingly, students can be very determined and impulsive when they really want something: 52% of them said that, “If I really want something, I will buy it regardless.”

Students are an integral part of the UK’s economy – they are avid consumers and trendsetters, and they are intelligent and very informed. They are also highly mobile and digital, and more likely to look for deals and offers. 

Is your business trying to appeal to students?