Marketing to Students – Survey Results!

Posted on Oct 29, 2013 · 3 min read

With millions of people in college each year, it is no secret that students create a large market for companies to reach. For the 3rd year in a row, SheerID has surveyed college students to gain a better understanding of student purchasing habits and their knowledge of student discounts being offered. So, as millions of college students packed up and headed back to their college town this fall, we surveyed over 500 students – take a look at what we found!

Students are purchasing more online!

graph of the percentage of students who make purchases online

As the process of online shopping has become more accessible and convenient, more and more students are turning to ordering items online as their time is divided between classes and studying. 81% of students (up 15.2% since 2011!) said that they had ordered items online in the past 30 days and 1/3 of students indicated that they had purchased  4 or more times online in the past 30 days! In 2011 only 1/4 of students had made that many purchases in 30 days.  Also, for the first time since SheerID has started surveying students, over half the students said they make more than 10% of their purchases online! These statistics prove that students are utilizing online shopping!

A majority of students said their main purchases online are apparel, electronics, media downloads, and textbooks. In our survey we also asked students to give us specific companies they wished gave students discounts – they were not shy to answer! These are the top 5 results we received:

  1. Amazon (without .edu address required)
  2. American Eagle
  3. Walmart
  4. Nordstrom
  5. Forever 21

I personally found it interesting that within this list there were many stores included that do in fact offer student discounts, students are just not aware of them. A few stores included Target and J Crew. So for stores that do currently offer student discounts – market it, students want to use them! But how you ask? In our survey we asked students to tell us what ways they would most like to learn about student discounts from their favorite stores, here are the top 5 suggestions:

  1. Email
  2. Advertising on company website
  3. On-campus marketing
  4. Facebook Ads
  5. Word of mouth

Overall, the data from our survey shows that there is a definite trend for students shopping online. If your company wants more students shopping on its website, it may be time to offer a student discount! There are numerous benefits to gaining students as customers, including that students have $417 billion in spending power!

Is your company ready to take the plunge into offering student discounts, but worried about the process? Ask how SheerID can help you verify!


Madeline Boehmer by Madeline Boehmer