Studentawards Inc.

Studentawards Inc.

February 16, 2010 16:32 ET

Opening Canada's Student Wallet

New research from Studentawards Inc. digs deeper, uncovers specific stage-of-education spending habits, as well as where, when and on what students spend millions of dollars each month.

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 16, 2010) - First-of-its-kind research sheds new light on the purchasing priorities of Canada's student population and why all students should not be treated equally by today's marketers. Results from the Students as Consumers (SAC) syndicated study (2009 to 2010) reveal average monthly expenses of $1,107 for high school, college and university students as a group, and uncover dramatic differences in spending priorities between each segment.

The survey results, available from student marketing and research company Studentawards Inc., provide marketers granular data on student purchasing decisions and priorities for their 2009-2010 school year. Categories include: electronics, clothing, automotive, sports and leisure equipment, school books and supplies, furniture and housewares, kitchenware and personal care. Over 5,000 students enrolled in high school, college or university provided insights into their Fall 2009 back-to-school purchases, their monthly budgets and expenses for the entire school year, as well as their purchase intentions for the remainder of 2010.

"More than understanding just what students purchased, we wanted to understand everything about their spending: how much research they did and when they made purchases in each category, what influence advertising and promotions had on their spending, and what their monthly budgets are for the year---particularly by their individual stage of education," said Suzanne Tyson, President of Studentawards Inc.

"Every question in the SAC study was geared toward creating an actionable data set for Canadian marketers with an interest in the youth and student segment. The data collected definitely sheds new light on how to spend marketing dollars efficiently within each unique student segment," said Tyson.

In short, the SAC survey is a goldmine of actionable learning for marketers planning to capture a larger share of the competitive student wallet in the upcoming 2010-11 school year. It is evident from the findings that student spending across Canada is not uniform; spending habits vary widely depending on region, stage of education, and living arrangements.

Selected highlights of the Students as Consumers study include:

Back-to-school spending for 2009/2010

- College and university students' key electronic purchases include products that meet their educational needs-personal computers and computer software; whereas high school students purchase electronics to meet their entertainment needs-mobile phones, video game consoles, etc.

- Half of students who bought electronics for back-to-school made their purchases in August and September. About 40% of respondents state they made their electronics purchases in July or earlier. This suggests an opportunity exists for marketers to capture market share before the traditional back-to-school rush.

- Promotions were more influential than advertising across all electronic products. Promotions influence the make and model and where electronic products are purchased with the greatest impact on the purchase of printers, personal computers, and mobile phones. Advertising had the most influence on purchases of video game consoles, followed by mobile phones, and MP3 players.

The Student Wallet

- Students spend the highest proportion monthly within five categories: personal care, eating out (fast food/ take out), groceries, clothes, and wireless service.

- Post-secondary students living on campus spend an average of $317.00 per month on food and non-alcoholic beverages, the most among all students.

- High school students living at home spend the most on entertainment (an average of $64.40/month) and clothing ($86.80), the most across all student groups.

- Overall university students spend less on a monthly basis than college students.

- Cosmetics budgets are higher with high school students. Spending on prescription and non-prescription drugs is highest with post-secondary students.

- High school and college students spend significantly more on telecommunication and cable expenses than their university counterparts.

- Two-thirds of students (67%) report average monthly grocery expenses -not including water and beverages - at $164.20.

- About half (48%) of the post secondary students living on campus are on a meal plan, however, they continue to spend a significant amount of their monthly budget on groceries & drinks -water, coffee, juice and soft drinks.

About the survey

The Students as Consumers (SAC) syndicated study was conducted using a nationally representative sample of Canadian students from the Studentawards online community through an invitation to an online survey methodology in both French and English. A total of 5,141 students completed the survey between October 8th and November 2nd, 2009. The survey was 30 minutes in length and included open and closed-ended questions. The data has been weighted by gender, province of school and current education stage (high school v. college v. university) to reflect the demographic composition of the student population of Canada. Survey results are considered accurate at the 95% confidence level (19 times out of 20).

For more information about the SAC study, please visit: or contact Lara Muldoon at 416-322-3210 ext. 282 or Jamie Harju at 416-322-3210 ext. 241.

About Studentawards Inc.

Studentawards Inc. operates,, and UThink Online. is a free service for high school, university and college students and helps them find information on scholarships, bursaries, grants and other forms of financial assistance to help pay for their post-secondary education. Established over a decade ago, Studentawards has developed unparalleled reach into the Canadian student market. Studentawards offers marketing, research and turn-key scholarship administration services to companies and organizations that wish to engage with their 600,000 member database of 15-29 year old French and English Canadian students.

To learn more about Studentawards' services or to order the Students as Consumers Syndicated Study please call Studentawards Inc. at 416-322-3210.

Contact Information

  • Media Contact:
    Studentawards Inc.
    Suzanne Tyson
    416.322.3210 ext 227