SOURCE: Burst Media

September 18, 2006 12:13 ET

Burst Media Survey: Price and Word of Mouth Prompt College Students to Try New Brands

No Surprise Here: College Students Spend Considerably More Time Online Than in Front of TV or Listening to Radio

BURLINGTON, MA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- September 18, 2006 -- What is the most important factor influencing a brand switch among college students? Better price, according to 60.5% of 800 college students, ages 18-24, that were recently surveyed by Burst Media. Friends' recommendations were second at 48.5%. Female college students are significantly more likely than males to cite these factors as an influencer on brand switching; better pricing (65.2% vs. 55.7%), and friends' recommendations (55.6% vs. 41.5%).

Parents and part-time jobs provide college students with their primary funding for discretionary spending. One half (49.9%) of respondents say earnings from a job while in school will help finance miscellaneous purchases such as clothing, entertainment and recreation. The majority (69.9%) of employed students will be working part-time jobs while studying. Additionally, nearly one half (46.3%) of college students point to their parents as a source of financing for miscellaneous purchases. Female college students 18-24 are more likely to turn to their parents to help fund their spending money than their male counterparts (52.0% vs. 40.5%). One-fifth (18.5%) of students will help finance their discretionary spending through summer earnings and savings.

Other key findings of the survey:

College students spend more time with the Internet than any other media, especially TV and radio

About one-third (33.6%) of students surveyed say they use the Internet more than 10 hours during a typical week; 20.3% say more than 20 hours. Meanwhile, less than 20 percent (18.8%) say they spend more than ten hours a week watching television or listening to the radio (18.2%); and sizable numbers say they spend less than three hours per week watching television (30.1%) or listening to the radio (45.6%). Male college students are more likely than female college students to be heavy consumers (more than 20 hours) of the Internet -- 37.2% versus 29.8%, respectively.

College students are multi-media multi-taskers. Nearly two-thirds (63.7%) of respondents say they use a computer while watching television, and 60.2% say they typically use a computer when listening to the radio. Male college students are more likely than female college students to say they use a computer while watching television (68.6% vs. 58.8%). There is no difference between gender segments in the use of a computer while listening to the radio.

One-third of College Students Have a Credit Card

One-third (32.0%) of college students 18-24 years have a credit card. Among credit card holders, roughly three out of five (58.2%) chose the card themselves; a quarter (24.3%) said a parent/guardian chose it, and 17.6% say it was a joint decision. Finance rate was cited by 33.1% of respondents as a factor in choosing a card; other factors mentioned were reward offers tied to the card (17.2%), a special offer (15.0%) and an affinity card (7.6%).

Students Plan Apparel and Shoe Purchases

Two-thirds (65.6%) of college students 18-24 years plan to purchase casual clothing in the next three months. Female college students are more likely than their male counterparts to say this -- 73.1% versus 57.4%, respectively. Additionally, in the next three months one-third (33.0%) of college students plan to purchase dressy clothing. Shoes are also an item college students 18-24 years will be purchasing; nearly one-third (30.5%) say they will purchase casual shoes, one-quarter (26.7%) plan to purchase sneakers, and 18.0% plan to purchase dressy shoes.

"The Internet is the media to reach college students," says Chuck Moran, Manager of Market Research for Burst. "The 18-24 years old segment has fully integrated the Internet into their daily lives. In fact, for a significant proportion of the segment, the Internet is the primary communication vehicle, information source, and entertainment channel -- in short it is the media of choice. As advertisers develop media plans they should leverage the vast content of the Internet and design their creative with the understanding that the 18-24 years target is an experienced and demanding Internet segment."

An online media and technology company founded in 1995, Burst Media ( provides products and services for web publishers that help them attract and meet the needs of advertisers. Burst Network sells the value of specialty-content web publishers to brand-focused advertisers. Burst Direct aggregates and optimizes inventory from a larger field of publishers for large scale direct marketers. Through its technology division, Burst markets its ad management solution, AdConductor ™, leading content web sites, ad networks, portals, and technology-driven ad providers.

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