SA students shopping basket: ‘BlackBerry rules’

BlackBerry came out tops within cell phone brands that appeal to South African students, according to a survey titled Student Spending Report 2013 and undertaken by a firm called the Student Village SA.

The survey which suggested that South African student community commands a total disposable spend of R39.5bn per year also established that the highest value purchase amongst  students is cell phones. In this, BlackBerry was still the most appealing brand.

This may be surprising given the setbacks suffered by BlackBerry over the past few years. BlackBerry maker, Research in Motion has gone through a rough financial patch mixed with technical glitches on their cell phone brand. This happened while competitors and mainly Samsung and Apple were making serious advances within the global smart phone market.

However, it must be noted that BlackBerry had captured a significant portion of the South African smart phone market and disproportionately so when compared to global trends. The results of this survey could be reflecting that historical position. There is also the fact that Research in Motion appears to be on a strong resurgence path.

The Student Spending Report 2013 survey is said to have 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.

Ronen Aires, CEO at Student Village said “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”.

He added that what should be of importance to cellular networks is that through research and focus groups, we discovered that students are spending twice the amount on cellular data as they are on airtime (voice).

Other key findings of the survey included the top 5 categories in students’ spend being rent, food, clothing, petrol and extra tuition. This was followed by a long list of items such as gadgets, entertainment, alcohol, transport costs, toiletries, cosmetics and hairdressers/beauty – to name but a few.

The report also revealed that South African student purchasing decisions were influenced heavily by celebrity endorsements and product placements as opposed to traditional advertising channels.

“In a surprising reveal, we learned that girls spend more than guys, spending an average of 9% more on contraceptives and 10% more on music, with guys spending 19% more on jewellery and 32% more on laundry. While 70% of the respondents felt that they save for emergencies, we need to be cognisant of their definition of ‘emergencies’. Most students define this as sales at retail outlets and magazines. Another interesting point that came out of the research is that when it comes to ‘saving’, students are saving to spend, as opposed to saving for their future”.

The survey also indicated that almost 1/3 of students have purchased something online with more of them keen to do so, if they had a credit card.

“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,” said Aires.

“The question, however, is how easily will these students settle this debt? The report highlighted that 78% of the respondents are comfortable that they will be able to settle their debt themselves, but just under half of them (45%) said they would need to rely on parents and family to assist them”.

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