As college students prepare to invade campuses, marketers can best reach and build relationships with this demo of up-and-coming consumers via the internet, which students prefer to both TV and radio, according to a recent Burst Media study of college students (pdf).
The July 2007 Burst Media online survey of 439 college students 18-24 years old studied students’ media consumption, how they finance their discretionary spending, and what influences their brand preferences.
Media Consumption Habits, according to Burst’s survey
- College students spend more time with the internet than other media:
- 33.0% spend more than 10 hours per week online, and 19.6% spend more than 20 hours per week online.
- However, just 16.6% watch more than 10 hours per week of television.
- And only 5.5% listen to terrestrial/satellite radio more than 10 hours per week.
- Students are online even when watching television or listening to the radio:
- 50.6% surf the web while watching TV.
- 43.5% are online while listening to terrestrial/satellite radio.
- Students use the internet to keep in touch and be entertained:
- Instant messaging is the most popular online activity with both male (62.3%) and female (57.2%) college students. Next are downloading music/MP3 files (53.3%), and pursuing school/work activities (51.7%).
- Those are followed by playing online games (47.7%), reading entertainment news/gossip (46.2%), listening to internet radio (44.5%), reading local/national/international news (44.2%), viewing streaming video content (42.6%).
- Males are more like than females to view streaming video (49.3% vs 34.3%).
- Females are more likely than males to research health info (32.8% vs 21.7%).
College students shop most for clothes and computers, according to Burst
- 69.1% of male college students spend $250 or more in a typical month on personal items, compared with 50.2% of female college students who do so.
- 46.7% will purchase casual clothing for school, with females somewhat more likely than males saying they will do so: 50.2% vs 43.8%.
- Laptops and cell phones are the tech products college students will purchase most of before returning to school:
- 23.3% will purchase a laptop.
- 21.5% will purchase a mobile phone, with male students are more likely than female students to do so (26.0% vs. 16.4%)
- 15.2% say they will purchase a desktop computer.
- Other favored tech products: digital music player (15.1%), video game console (13.7%), and a laser printer (6.7%).
Other findings from the Burst study of college students
- Offline retail is the favored venue for purchases:
- Students say they will make more than three-quarters of their purchases offline and less than a quarter online.
- Males will make more of their purchases online than female college students (26.6% vs. 16.7%).
- Brand selection among students is driven by WOM and cost-consciousness:
- The most important influence regarding brand selection is price, cited by 66.3% of college students.
- Friends’ recommendation is the second most important factor, cited by 56.0%; females are more likely than males to say so (60.4% vs. 52.5%).
- Next are “seeing others use a brand” (25.9%), “buzz” (21.0%), an advertisement (18.6%), packaging (18.0%), press stories (14.2%), and celebrity endorsement (9.8%).