SA students make for a R39.5bn market

The South African student community makes for a sizeable and dynamic market with total spending power of about R39.5 billion per annum, says the 2013 survey of student’s financial position.

Released this week, the Student Spending Report 2013 undertaken by a firm called the Student Village SA found that students in South Africa spend 15% more per year than the average citizen. They command disposable spend on average of R3510 per month or R42 120 per annum.

“The results of this report show that with the access they have to disposable income, South African students are definitely a market to be noticed and watched,” says Ronen Aires, CEO at Student Village.

Aires said “There is no doubt that engaging with SA students is a challenge to marketers, and knowing if this market contains real financial value is something we felt was worth looking into. Our findings show that while students see money as an essential part of life, they feel that it does not define who they are or who they will become”.

The report covered a sample of 681 male and female students (between the ages of 18 – 24) from tertiary institutions nationally through focus groups, an online component and field research – looking at a strong demographic representation of South Africa.

Parents’ financial support remains the predominant factor in students’ disposable income followed by part time work (24%) and bursaries (18%).

Aires highlighted the bursary factors as interesting. “This shows us that students have greater access to bursaries as companies and government is getting more involved in education and development.  We have noticed a steady increase in student spending over the past 3 years – up by R552 per month from 2010.”

The survey revealed that the top 5 categories in students’ spend is; rent, food, clothing, petrol and extra tuition. This is followed by a long list of items such as gadgets, entertainment, alcohol, transport costs, toiletries, cosmetics and hairdressers/beauty. The survey found that the highest value purchase amongst all students is cell phones, with BlackBerry still being the most appealing brand.

Aires said “A key aspect of this year’s research revolves around credit, where students are becoming ever more ‘credit savvy’ as they are more aware of the risk of debt and see it as a negative thing – 20% of respondents indicated that they have credit cards (down from 43% last year) and 24% have retail accounts”.

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