Student Spend Report 2017: A Brand Me Generation, Buying ExperiencesIn Trends
South Africa’s 985,212 students have a combined annual spend of R32-billion. With the state of the economy and tougher times, student spend has only increased slightly from R2,702 to R2,714 per month. This is according to Student Village’s 5th Annual Student Spend Report, describing this change as a “negative increase”.
According to Marc Kornberger, Founding Director of Student Village, “This doesn’t factor in inflation which has hovered around the 5-7% mark and so the money students are spending is worth less. Interestingly, students are still spending more than the average South African.”
The study which unpacks students’ behaviour and perceptions surrounding their world of money and credit, also points out the evolution of students from 2010 till 2017. According to the study, 2017 shows a dramatic focus on brand “ME” within the student market, contrasting to 2010 when students were using brands to portray their individuality.
“Students now perceive and use brands to support their personal brand by putting themselves first and then positioning brands to support who they are,” Marc added. Clothing and footwear spend has gone up substantially, almost threefold since the last report (2015 = R491; 2017 = R1,361).
Another trend emerging is that students are focused on emancipating, enhancing and elevating themselves by buying experiences and creating memories. They are also less accepting of information presented to them and challenge the status quo, making brands work much harder for their attention.
In order to support their lifestyle ideals, students are doing whatever it takes to make money, giving rise to the gig economy, from doing promotions to DJing at their local hangouts.
Further working on their financial stability, students are treating credit as a means to build their credit rating. The study found that 2 in 3 students have a retail card or credit card and use their credit facility as a back-up. Students further claim to have a better handle on their credit card debt than retail accounts with greater loyalty to banks.
Online shopping has also increased with students blurring the lines of what constitutes online shopping eg. In-App purchases, and iTunes music and not necessarily being aware they are doing it. Top items being bought online include clothing, travel and electronics.
In terms of loyalty to banking brands, Capitec emerged at the top of students’ list. The banks could be seen ranking in the order of Capitec (30%), Standard Bank (23%), ABSA (20%), FNB (18%) and lastly Nedbank (12%).
Marc commented on Capitec’s top spot, saying “Capitec is deemed to be hustling and secretly making it; it’s not the most sexy bank but students see it as one of the smartest.” According to focus groups from the study, Capitec is seen as the new kid on the block, with low admin fees and a user friendly app, which makes the brand easy to engage with and navigate.
Students also appear to be more financially educated or needing less information on finances, with only 29% wanting to know more about saving vs. 61% in 2015. It was also found that female students are more conservative spenders than males in terms of their spending priorities.
Student Village and its research partner Amoeba Insights, conducted a robust and national on-line survey with a sample of 3,249 students, as well as qualitative focus groups with students, nationally and fully representative of SA’s population. A relatively equal gender split and diverse racial profile was obtained. Students who were able to partake in the study were above 17 years of age.
The top 10 things you need to know about students spending in 2017:
- Students in 2017 are all about BRAND ME
- Money buys students worthwhile experiences
- Students still spend more than the average South African
- Students are doing #whateverittakes to make money
- Students are saving to look good and make memories
- Clothing and footwear up substantially, almost threefold
- Students of different ethnicities and gender spend differently
- Students highest value purchase – smart phones
- Online shopping is increasing – 1 in 3 students shop online
- Students believe that debt can help buy them a credit rating
For more information and to get the full unabridged report contact Student Village on or visit studentmarketing.co.za.
Samantha Van Zyl
Public Relations Manager, Student Village
About Student Village
Founded in South Africa in 2001, Student Village has carved its niche in the youth space, acting as the bridge between students and brands. Reaching a million students, Student Village assists top multinational companies to understand and position either their consumer or talent brands in the youth market. Student Village’s customized solutions to companies include campus activations, brand ambassadors, online & social media, publications, outdoor media, sponsorship management, graduate recruitment and scholarship management solutions. studentmarketing.co.za