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College Students Shopping Online

Late last month, Experience, Inc., a career services provider, released of college-educated 18 to 34 year-olds’ . Experience claims that 18 to 34 year-olds are responsible for $175 billion in annual consumer spending.

The survey found that 98% of college students have bought a product or service online.

They conduct online research before buying:

  • Less than one hour of research: 27%
  • 1-2 hours of research: 53%
  • 3-5 hours of research: 17%
  • Six or more hours of research: 3%

The report states that "Because college students spend a significant amount of
time online researching products and services before purchasing, when
they do purchase, they do it online."

Perhaps. It would be interesting to know what they were buying online. I’d be wiling to bet that college students are primarily small ticket buyers online: Books, music, web site subscriptions, etc., and that might explain why most spend little time doing online research. It doesn’t take a lot of research to determine if you want to buy a book or some music.

I’d also be willing to bet that there’s a strong correlation between the amount of time spent researching a product online and the price of the product. That is, people will conduct much more thorough and extensive research for a big-ticket item such as a car or an HDTV and that the larger the price, the less likely they will be to buy the item online.

The report also states that 18 to 34 year-olds respond to . More than 50% said they have bought a product or service based on an online ad and 34% said Internet ads were the most influential way to motivate them to learn more about a product or service.

What types of online ads will most appeal to this group?

  1. Sponsored link related to the content they are reading, 41%
  2. A contest or promotion offering value, 34%
  3. Personalization based on their pofile or online behavior, 17%

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About David Erickson

David Erickson is principal of e-Strategy Media, a digital marketing consultancy based in Minnesota. David has extensive experience in digital marketing and is often used as an expert source by media and asked to speak on the topic before organizations and to sit on panel discussions.

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