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Marketing to College Students - US - July 2011

  • How is the demographic of college students changing with an increase in racial diversity and an upsurge in mature students?
  • How can brands appeal to the idealism and social nature of students
  • What technology and social media trends are presenting now opportunities to communicate to US college students?
  • How are brands currently embracing new technology to market to this demographic?
  • For the purposes of this report, Mintel has used the following definitions.

    References to "college students" or "students" include respondents who are attending college or university classes either part time or full time, either in person or online.

    A "traditional student" attends classes full-time, and attends the majority of classes in person.

    A "nontraditional student" attends part-time and/or attends the majority of classes online.

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
        • Data sources
          • Consumer survey data
            • Advertising creative
              • Abbreviations and terms
                • Abbreviations
                  • Terms
                  • Executive Summary

                    • Recessionary pressures and social trends drove student body growth
                      • Women and minorities represent growing proportion of student body
                        • Finances, employment prospects, and grades primary concerns of students
                          • Living situations are about equally split between “college living” and “family living”
                            • School, working, and hanging with friends most popular activities
                              • Most students are avid users of social networking sites
                                • Most eat at home but fast food a relatively popular lunch and dinner destination
                                  • Texting among most common forms of communication
                                    • Students more likely to own many electronic devices
                                      • Verizon is the preferred carrier overall, good network coverage is a must
                                        • Students more likely to have debit cards instead of credit cards
                                        • Insights and Opportunities

                                          • Appeal to the idealism and social nature of students
                                            • KFC gets social to promote the Double Down
                                              • QR tagging could capture the attention of students
                                                • Linking brands with culture and authenticity
                                                  • Offer sustainable food and drink options on college campuses
                                                    • Figure 1: Attitudes toward green advertising, by age, December 2010
                                                    • Figure 2: Green or sustainable product purchase frequency, by age and household income, May-June 2010
                                                • Inspire Insights

                                                    • Trend: Access All Areas
                                                      • Smartphones
                                                        • Online
                                                          • Trend: A Simple Balance For Health
                                                          • The Student Body

                                                            • Key points
                                                              • Growth of student body slows after spike in 2008
                                                                  • Figure 3: Actual and projected enrollment at degree-granting institutions, by age, 2006-16
                                                                • Spending power spikes in 2009 as record numbers attend college
                                                                  • Women increasingly outnumber men in student body
                                                                    • Figure 4: Actual and projected enrollment at degree-granting institutions, by sex, 2006-16
                                                                  • Student body becoming more ethnically diverse
                                                                    • Figure 5: Actual and projected enrollment at degree-granting institutions, by race/ethnicity, 2006-16
                                                                  • Full- and part-time segments growing at a similar pace
                                                                    • Figure 6: Actual and projected enrollment at degree-granting institutions, by full- and part-time status, 2006-16
                                                                • Marketing Challenges

                                                                  • On-campus bans of alcohol, tobacco, and credit card advertising limit reach
                                                                    • Online and for-profit colleges changing the nature of the student body
                                                                    • Market Drivers

                                                                      • Key points
                                                                        • Population growth will drive growth in student body
                                                                          • Figure 7: Population by age, 2006-16
                                                                        • Hispanic and Asian segments growing quickly
                                                                          • Figure 8: U.S. population of ages 18-24, by race/Hispanic origin, 2006-16
                                                                        • Spike in attendance driven by high unemployment
                                                                          • Figure 9: Unemployment, January 2007-June 2011
                                                                        • Economy drives some young adults to postpone marriage and childbirth
                                                                          • Figure 10: Percent of population 15+ who are married, 1960-2010
                                                                          • Figure 11: U.S. birth rate, 2003-11
                                                                      • Innovations and Innovators

                                                                        • On-campus brand ambassadors
                                                                          • MTVU
                                                                            • Target uses innovative techniques to attract college students
                                                                              • Red Bull positions as a part of college culture and student lifestyles
                                                                              • Marketing Strategies

                                                                                • Overview
                                                                                  • For-profit schools focus efforts largely on minorities and working class
                                                                                    • Figure 12: University of Phoenix TV ad, 2011
                                                                                  • Taco Bell goes after college-aged men with steak value
                                                                                    • Figure 13: Taco Bell Triple Steak Stack TV ad, 2011
                                                                                  • Apple targets young adults with the emotional benefits of technology
                                                                                    • Figure 14: Apple iPhone 4 TV ad, 2010
                                                                                  • Target uses comedy and lifestyle relevance to reach students
                                                                                    • Figure 15: Target “college life starts here” TV ad, 2010
                                                                                    • Figure 16: Target “roommate’s parents” TV ad, 2010
                                                                                    • Figure 17: Target “scare roommate” TV ad, 2010
                                                                                • Personal Concerns

                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                    • Students’ concerns more inwardly focused compared with nonstudents
                                                                                      • Figure 18: Items/situations personally concerned about, by student/Nonstudent status, April-May 2011
                                                                                    • Older students more aware of broader issues
                                                                                      • Figure 19: Items/situations personally concerned about, by student age, April-May 2011
                                                                                    • Affluent students less concerned … about almost everything
                                                                                      • Figure 20: Items/situations personally concerned about, by student household income, April-May 2011
                                                                                    • Nontraditional students’ concerns generally reflect that of older students
                                                                                      • Figure 21: Items/situations personally concerned about, by student type and living status, April-May 2011
                                                                                  • School Year Living Situation

                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                      • Off-campus apartments/houses most popular among students
                                                                                          • Figure 22: School year living situation, by student age, April-May 2011
                                                                                        • Affluent students more likely to live in dormitories
                                                                                          • Figure 23: School year living situation, by student household income, April-May 2011
                                                                                        • Nontraditional students are most likely to live with spouse/family
                                                                                          • Figure 24: School year living situation, by student type, April-May 2011
                                                                                      • Paying the Bills

                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                          • Students are less likely to pay the bills in their household
                                                                                            • Figure 25: Who pays household bills, by student/nonstudent status, October 2009-December 2010
                                                                                          • Affluent students are the least likely to pay bills in their household
                                                                                            • Figure 26: Who pays household bills, by student household income, October 2009-December 2010
                                                                                          • Employed students more likely to pay the bills in their household
                                                                                            • Figure 27: Who pays household bills, by student employment status, October 2009-December 2010
                                                                                        • Typical Weekday Activities

                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                            • Male and female students generally spend time similarly
                                                                                              • Figure 28: Weekday time spent on various activities, by student gender, April-May 2011
                                                                                            • Older working students spend more time at work
                                                                                              • Figure 29: Weekday time spent on various activities, by student age, April-May 2011
                                                                                            • Nontraditional students tend to spend more time working
                                                                                              • Figure 30: Weekday time spent on various activities, by student type and living status, April-May 2011
                                                                                          • Online Activities in the Last Seven Days

                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                              • Students tend to be more active on social networking sites
                                                                                                • Figure 31: Online activities in the last seven days, by student/nonstudent status, April-May 2011
                                                                                              • Consider using social networking sites to target younger students
                                                                                                • Figure 32: Online activities in the last seven days, by student age, April-May 2011
                                                                                            • Online Search Engines Typically Used

                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                • Google the most popular search engine for students and nonstudents
                                                                                                  • Figure 33: Online search engines typically used, by student/nonstudent status, April-May 2011
                                                                                                • Male college students somewhat more likely to use non-Google search
                                                                                                  • Figure 34: Online search engines typically used, by student gender, April-May 2011
                                                                                                • Older students notably less likely than others to use Google
                                                                                                  • Figure 35: Online search engines typically used, by student age, April-May 2011
                                                                                                • Nontraditional students use Google less than traditional students
                                                                                                  • Figure 36: Online search engines typically used, by student type, April-May 2011
                                                                                              • Attitudes Toward Shopping Online

                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                  • Students are more likely than nonstudents to search online for coupons
                                                                                                      • Figure 37: Attitudes toward shopping online, by student/nonstudent status, April-May 2011
                                                                                                    • Female students more likely to get coupons via email and through Groupon
                                                                                                      • Figure 38: Attitudes toward shopping online, by student gender, April-May 2011
                                                                                                  • Frequency of Eating Meals

                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                      • Dinner is the most frequently eaten meal among college students
                                                                                                        • Figure 39: Frequency of eating meals on weekdays and weekends, by students, April-May 2011
                                                                                                      • Younger college students least likely to eat breakfast
                                                                                                        • Figure 40: Frequency of eating meals, by student age, April-May 2011
                                                                                                      • Affluent students more likely to eat breakfast
                                                                                                        • Figure 41: Frequency of eating meals, by student household income, April-May 2011
                                                                                                      • Nontraditional students are more likely to eat breakfast
                                                                                                        • Figure 42: Frequency of eating meals, by student type and living status, April-May 2011
                                                                                                    • Where Weekday Meals Typically Eaten

                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                        • College students typically eat breakfast at home
                                                                                                          • Figure 43: Where weekday meals typically eaten by meal occasion, by students, April-May 2011
                                                                                                        • Affluent students less likely to eat meals at home
                                                                                                          • Figure 44: Where any weekday meals typically eaten, by student household income, April-May 2011
                                                                                                        • Family living students much more likely to eat meals at home
                                                                                                          • Figure 45: Where any weekday meals typically eaten, by student type and living status, April-May 2011
                                                                                                      • Frequency of Leisure Activities

                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                          • Hanging out with friends is most popular college student activity
                                                                                                            • Figure 46: Frequency of leisure activities, by students, April-May 2011
                                                                                                          • Younger students more likely to hang out and play sports
                                                                                                            • Figure 47: Frequency of leisure activities, by student age, April-May 2011
                                                                                                          • Nontraditional students are more likely to eat out
                                                                                                            • Figure 48: Frequency of leisure activities, by student type and living status, April-May 2011
                                                                                                        • Frequency of Communication

                                                                                                          • Key point
                                                                                                            • Text messaging very popular form of communication among students
                                                                                                              • Figure 49: Frequency of non-face-to-face communication, by students, April-May 2011
                                                                                                            • Students less likely to use landlines and email to communicate
                                                                                                              • Figure 50: Frequency of non-face-to-face communication, by student/nonstudent status, April-May 2011
                                                                                                          • Electronics Product Ownership

                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                              • Students more likely to own many electronic devices
                                                                                                                • Figure 51: Electronics product ownership, by student/nonstudent status, April-May 2011
                                                                                                              • Affluent students more likely to own smartphones
                                                                                                                • Figure 52: Electronics product ownership, by student household income, April-May 2011
                                                                                                            • Cell Phone Ownership, Provider and Subscription Type

                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                • Ownership
                                                                                                                  • Students somewhat more likely than nonstudents to own a cell phone
                                                                                                                    • Figure 53: Cell phone ownership, by student/nonstudent status, October 2009-December 2010
                                                                                                                  • Service providers
                                                                                                                    • Verizon most popular cell phone provider with students and nonstudents
                                                                                                                      • Figure 54: Primary cell phone service provider, by student/nonstudent status, April-May 2011
                                                                                                                    • AT&T more popular among upper-income students
                                                                                                                      • Figure 55: Primary cell phone service provider, by student household income, April-May 2011
                                                                                                                    • Subscription type
                                                                                                                      • Students more likely to use unlimited cell phone plans
                                                                                                                        • Figure 56: Cell phone service subscription type, by student/nonstudent status, April-May 2011
                                                                                                                      • Younger students more likely to have unlimited plans
                                                                                                                        • Figure 57: Cell phone service subscription type, by student age, April-May 2011
                                                                                                                      • Nontraditional students more likely to use “pay as you go” and no contract
                                                                                                                        • Figure 58: Cell phone service subscription type, by student type and living status, April-May 2011
                                                                                                                    • Attitudes Toward Cell Phone Service Provider

                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                        • Most important aspects of a service provider
                                                                                                                          • Good network coverage is most important for students and nonstudents
                                                                                                                            • Figure 59: Most important reasons for choosing cell phone carrier, by student/nonstudent status, April-May 2011
                                                                                                                          • Attitudes toward switching providers
                                                                                                                            • Students are more likely to switch carriers for desired phones
                                                                                                                              • Figure 60: Attitudes toward switching cell phone carrier, by student/nonstudent status, April-May 2011
                                                                                                                            • Male students more likely to be currently shopping for a new carrier
                                                                                                                              • Figure 61: Attitudes toward switching cell phone carrier, by student gender, April-May 2011
                                                                                                                            • Older students are more likely to be planning to switch carriers
                                                                                                                              • Figure 62: Attitudes toward switching cell phone carrier, by student age, April-May 2011
                                                                                                                          • Debit and Credit Card Ownership and Use

                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                              • Students more likely to have debit cards than credit cards
                                                                                                                                • Figure 63: Debit and credit card ownership, by student/nonstudent status, October 2009-December 2010
                                                                                                                              • Female students more likely to have a debit card
                                                                                                                                • Figure 64: Debit and credit card ownership, by student gender, October 2009-December 2010
                                                                                                                              • Employed students more likely to have debit and credit cards
                                                                                                                                • Figure 65: Debit and credit card ownership, by student employment status, October 2009-December 2010
                                                                                                                            • Impact of Race and Hispanic Origin

                                                                                                                              • Hispanics less likely to express concerns than non-Hispanics
                                                                                                                                • Figure 66: Items/situations personally concerned about, by student race/Hispanic origin, April-May 2011
                                                                                                                              • Black students more likely to live off campus alone or with roommates
                                                                                                                                • Figure 67: School year living situation, by student race/Hispanic origin, April-May 2011
                                                                                                                              • Non-Hispanics more likely to spend time on social networking sites
                                                                                                                                • Figure 68: Online activities in the last seven days, by student race/Hispanic origin, April-May 2011
                                                                                                                              • Hispanic students more likely to eat breakfast, less likely to indulge in late night snack
                                                                                                                                • Figure 69: Frequency of eating meals, by student race/Hispanic origin, April-May 2011
                                                                                                                              • Hispanic segment has a concentration of Skype users
                                                                                                                                • Figure 70: Frequency of non-face-to-face communication, by student race/Hispanic origin, April-May 2011
                                                                                                                            • Cluster Analysis

                                                                                                                                • Reading and Worrying
                                                                                                                                  • Demographics
                                                                                                                                    • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                      • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                        • Musically Social
                                                                                                                                          • Demographics
                                                                                                                                            • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                              • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                • Sleepless and Inactive
                                                                                                                                                  • Demographics
                                                                                                                                                    • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                      • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                        • Characteristic tables
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 71: College student lifestyle clusters, April-May 2011
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 72: Items/situations personally concerned about, by college student lifestyle clusters, April-May 2011
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 73: School year living situation, by college student lifestyle clusters, April-May 2011
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 74: Weekday time spent on various activities, by college student lifestyle clusters, April-May 2011
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 75: Online activities in the last seven days, by college student lifestyle clusters, April-May 2011
                                                                                                                                                        • Demographic tables
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 76: College student lifestyle clusters, by gender, April-May 2011
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 77: College student lifestyle clusters, by age, April-May 2011
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 78: College student lifestyle clusters, by household income, April-May 2011
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 79: College student lifestyle clusters, by race, April-May 2011
                                                                                                                                                        • Cluster methodology
                                                                                                                                                        • Custom Consumer Groups

                                                                                                                                                          • Traditional students spend more time on social networking sites
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 80: Online activities in the last seven days, by student type and living status, April-May 2011
                                                                                                                                                          • Nontraditional students more likely to own basic electronics
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 81: Electronics product ownership, by student type and living status, April-May 2011
                                                                                                                                                            • College living students more likely to use Verizon
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 82: Primary cell phone service provider, by student type and living status, April-May 2011
                                                                                                                                                            • Most want to stay connected, remain loyal to provider
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 83: Attitudes toward cell phones, by student/nonstudent status, October 2009-December 2010
                                                                                                                                                          • Appendix—Other Useful Consumer Tables

                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 84: Items/situations personally concerned about, by student gender, April-May 2011
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 85: School year living situation, by student gender, April-May 2011
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 86: Online activities in the last seven days, by student gender, April-May 2011
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 87: Online activities in the last seven days, by student household income, April-May 2011
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 88: Frequency of eating meals, by student gender, April-May 2011
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 89: Where any weekday meals typically eaten, by student gender, April-May 2011
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 90: Where any weekday meals typically eaten, by student age, April-May 2011
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 91: Frequency of non-face-to-face communication, by student gender, April-May 2011
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 92: Frequency of non-face-to-face communication, by student age, April-May 2011
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 93: Frequency of non-face-to-face communication, by student household income, April-May 2011
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 94: Frequency of non-face-to-face communication, by student type and living status, April-May 2011
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 95: Primary cell phone service provider, by student gender, April-May 2011
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 96: Cell phone service subscription type, by student gender, April-May 2011
                                                                                                                                                          • Appendix—Trade Associations

                                                                                                                                                            Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                            • Domino's Pizza LLB
                                                                                                                                                            • Groupon, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                            • Macy's, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                            • National Retail Federation (NRF)
                                                                                                                                                            • Pepsi-Cola North America
                                                                                                                                                            • Red Bull North America, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                            • Research In Motion (USA)
                                                                                                                                                            • T-Mobile USA
                                                                                                                                                            • Taco Bell Corp.
                                                                                                                                                            • Target Corporation
                                                                                                                                                            • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

                                                                                                                                                            Marketing to College Students - US - July 2011

                                                                                                                                                            £2,684.63 (Excl.Tax)