Students blow big bucks on booze, bling

2010-05-01 00:00

STUDENTS in South Africa spend about R28,5 billion a year “on bling, airtime, snacks and alcohol,’’ research shows.

A survey by Student Village aimed to test how viable the student market is for its clients, who questioned whether it held any real financial value for their brands.

Marc Kornberger, director and partner at Student Village, said they sampled 660 respondents across SA’s tertiary institutions in Durban, Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria.

The survey was aptly called “15 things you didn’t know about student spending behaviour” after the surprising figures they found, which included that the average South African student spends R35 616 a year, excluding fees.

“We always think that students don’t have money. But we found that South African tertiary education students spend roughly R28,5 billion a year on bling, airtime, snacks and alcohol, among other things,” said Kornberger.

With roughly 850 000 students registered at South African universities, this R28,5 billion was arrived at by extrapolating the amount the surveyed students spent on average each month in proportion to the student population and what it is likely to spend in a year.

The study found that, on average, students spend about R2 968 per month.

Food and groceries are at the top of the spending list for most students, who spend about R652 on this, followed by rent, for which the average student pays R501 — and R320 is spent on clothing and footwear.

However, Kornberger was quick to point out that they found that there is no such thing as an average student. It was discovered that the spending habits of most students are largely influenced by their ethnic backgrounds.

They found that black students spend 47% more on fashion than white students, while Indian students spend more on bling and jewellery than white, coloured and black students combined.

On the other hand, white students are the biggest spenders when it comes to alcohol.

Another interesting fact is that male students generally spend 15% more on airtime than female students and, less surprisingly, drink a lot more than their female counterparts.

The biggest funders of the student lifestyle are parents, at 87%. However, 26% of the students surveyed work part-time or fulltime and 11% are funded by bursaries.

The survey also found that a large number of students are credit card holders.

But to prove that fashion is everything, 60% of these students would rather default on a credit card payment than on a clothing account.

Kornberger said that while the survey was largely questionnaire-based, the information the researchers found to be eyebrow-raising was further scrutinised in the form of focus groups to prove the validity of their findings.


•35% of the 660 students sampled were first-year students.

•37% of this number lived with their parents, while 29% rented and 24% lived on campus.

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