Studying the Economics Of Student Life Today

Perhaps college students aren’t as unwashed a cohort as one might suppose. According to the latest round of polling commissioned for Alloy Inc.’s 360 Youth College Explorer Study, 55 percent of collegians age 18-30 are loyal to the same brand of bar soap their parents use. Even more of them (60 percent) are loyal to their parents’ brand of laundry detergent. Slightly fewer students (54 percent) stick with the parental toothpaste brand. Let’s hope they’re brushing vigorously. Another section of the survey (fielded by Harris Interactive) found that students’ favorite snacks include candy bars and packaged cookies/brownies.

There’s a good chance they’re buying all this stuff on credit. Sixty-five percent of students have a major credit card. Befitting their greater wisdom, seniors are more likely than freshman to have one (79 percent vs. 41 percent). Given the nature of student finances, price is crucial in their purchase decisions. Indeed, 93 percent of respondents said low prices are important to them. Asked whether they’re more likely to seek a certain brand or to find things on sale, 66 percent said they go for the sale. Likewise, when they look at ads, a message of “affordable product cost” is the element most likely to move them. Variety being the spice of collegiate life, 94 percent said a wide selection is also important to them when they’re out shopping.

Among other findings in the poll, freshmen are more likely than seniors (35 percent vs. 12 percent) to use the same brands as their friends. Male students are more interested than their female counterparts (57 percent vs. 48 percent) in trying products in the store.