College students are notoriously for constantly being “broke” – but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t spending money. In fact, according to a Nationwide study, three out of four college kids hold down jobs while they’re in school and 84% admit to having at least one credit card to help subsidize their lifestyles. While much of this spending goes to school expenses, 40% of it is actually labeled “discretionary” spending, which means that even though they’re keeping their college bookstores afloat, they’re also spending plenty of money at local pizza joints, bars and stores.
With this in mind, the power of the college student spender can’t be ignored. A research study from ecampus.com found that this segment of the population spend a whopping $60 billion each year on every day needs. Although $33 billion of this was tagged as “back-to-school items,” this category didn’t just include standard school supplies. It also accounted for things like dorm room furnishings and electronics.
What’s more, the ecampus.com determined that college kids spend $27 billion on things deemed to be “non-essential items.” According to the study, students ages 18-24 spend $5 billion each year on clothes and shoes, and $5.5 billion on alcohol. They spent another $2.4 billion on entertainment, which includes things like music, DVD and on-demand movie rentals, and video games.
Because college students live in that “sweet spot” of adulthood – where they have all of the freedom of being adults without any of the responsibilities – budgeting isn’t exactly their top priority and the spend money pretty much as soon as they have it. And although most of their money is earmarked for going out, they also buy plenty of other stuff, from beauty products to vacations.
The lesson to be learned here is that college students can’t be ignored as a significant market for businesses of all types to target. While they’re working their summer jobs and taking a break from classes, take some tie to evaluate your marketing strategy and determine how you can get a bigger piece of the spending pie. With the right mix of products and marketing, you can gear up to hit the college scene hard in August, when the spending cycle restarts itself and students are back into their routine of studying, working, and spending big on their lifestyle needs.
Be sure to check out the infographics below!