Advertising to Student Consumers – the When, What and Where for Brands

Advertising to student consumers – the when, what and where for brands

Students are better switched-on to the marketing world than ever. With advertising being selected as the least influencing factor in their spending, young people are becoming more and more wise to generic advertising. Calling for marketeers to become more unique and personalised with their approach.

We’re sharing findings from our recent survey to give you a window into student spending behaviour: when they are looking to make big purchases and what content will make your marketing communications resonate with this consumer market.


Our report revealed what students truly value when it comes to consumer products. In terms of purchasing technology, such as a new phone, students told us they prioritise the functionality in a product over the price.

When sharing marketing communications with students, you might think a discount is the only thing you need to grab the attention of students, however, our research shows they value a product for its practicality. Use this information to ensure you’re focused on promoting what the product has to offer that your competitors can’t, before pushing any numbers.


Keep the parents close, but your target market even closer. Parents play a huge role in funding students at university with 23% having their parents as their main source of income. And it doesn’t stop there, students told us their parents helped them out with multiple purchases preparing them for university:

  • 28% of students’ parents made their retail purchases 
  • 60% of students still have their parents pay their phone bill
  • 29% of students’ parents made their technology purchases

Although, the parents are the ones providing the money, 88% of students said even if someone else paid for the purchases they make the ultimate decision themselves. So, ensure your campaign makes an impact and influences the end consumer of your product before their parents, as young people are the ones making that decision, even if it’s not them paying for it.

Can’t get enough of our stats? Download and read the full report here.


Young people are not impulsive spendthrifts. We see students planning their spending every day as they speak to their peers on The Student Room, looking for advice and recommendations with their purchases. Check out some of the recent discussions:

“Girls, what is your experience with clothes from Miss Selfridge?”

“Anybody bought from”

“Best place to buy bedding…”

“Confused about bank accounts”

“Contract or buy a high-end phone outright?”

“Which laptop should I buy?!”

We found students tend to be more considered with their spending and their finances, with a whopping 75% of all respondents stating they did or will open a new student account before actually starting university.

In terms of purchasing, 44% said they plan their purchases and 20% take up to a day to decide what they want to buy. So, when is the perfect time to get students buying?

In terms of retail, we found 40% of students will make purchases 1-4 weeks before starting university.

Similarly, students plan in advance with their spending with tech devices as well:

  • 58% said they bought or planned to buy a new laptop before starting university 
  • 29% of Year 13 students are likely or likely to upgrade their phone before going to university 

Trends showcased that students were most likely to purchase items for university before they start in September. With these statistics, we recommend reaching out to Freshers at the beginning of summer allowing them time to consider their purchases and buy up to 4 weeks before they start.

You have your when and the what to but there’s also the question of where to advertise?

With 10 million monthly users, The Student Room is the perfect platform to advertise products to the youth market and students showing intent-to-buy signals, find out more.