June 17, 2009

The Recession and Student Spending Trends

Marketing managers who target the 18-25 year old demographic, have you altered the way you reach college students?
Student spending today is basically Generation Y spending.
Born between 1977 and 1994, Generation Y comprises today’s high school and college student markets. The large size of this generation (71 million) makes them a profitable market. One that, as a marketer, you can’t afford to miss.
Student spending differs by whether the student is in high school or college.
Today’s high school students... have more money to spend than any teens to date, 51 percent more than 1995 teenagers.
Together they spend an estimated $187 billion a year on:
  • clothing
  • wireless tech gadgets
  • alcoholic beverages
  • tobacco
  • eating out
  • personal appearance
  • fun
While still in high school, most students earn close to $100 per week. Plus some have their own credit cards or access to their parents’ cards.
Almost all high school students have their own computers and are online. Any business wanting to reach them must have a well-designed Web site.
Today’s college students... spend more than $100 billion of their own money each year and influence many family purchases.
They have money to spend. More than half of today’s full-time college students work.
They also spend on credit. More than 90 percent of those 21 and older use credit cards. Their average credit card debt is $3,000, and 10 percent owe more than $7,000. They do pay their credit card debts, just a little slower than older generations.
College students buy over the internet, but first they comparison shop on an average of three Web sites.
Together high school and college students have a tremendous effect on the economy.
So Marketers… Target Generation Y!
They like to shop, with the men liking shoping more than men in prior generations.
But they are “notoriously fickle,” demanding the latest trends in record time.
They are immune to hard sell advertisements. They are brand and fashion-conscious, but won’t buy if clerks “get in their face” trying to sell them. The hard sell doesn’t work with them.
They prefer brands with a core identity based on core values. They won’t buy a product just because it’s in the mall. It’s more important to them that a product is recommended by their peers. Word of mouth is the best method of marketing to them.
Today’s students don’t like the status quo and are immune to established brands. They like appeals that reflect their lifestyles more than their outward appearance.
They respond best to humorous and emotional advertising. They like advertisements that show other people like them in real-life situations. They also like innovative music and advertising that centers on their lifestyles.

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