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Student Lifestyles - UK - June 2010

This report takes the general theme of ‘Students as Consumers’ and asks the question:

“What impact has the current economic environment and increases in tuition fees had on student lifestyles?”

  • More than 40% of students are very concerned about the increase in tuition fees. As a result students are becoming increasingly demanding and critical of the service their university provides.
  • With the cost of going to university rising, a fifth of students chose their university so they could continue living in the family home. These stay-at-home students have different needs to the traditional student, an issue which both universities and leisure operators should address.
  • Many students have adopted a ‘spend now, pay later’ attitude: six in ten accept that debt is just part of university life.
  • Students now choose to travel during holidays rather than taking a gap year before or after university, providing opportunities for affordable travel experiences which fit into student holidays (including the shorter Easter and Christmas breaks).
  • Technology, and in particular the computer, is an essential part of student life both academically and socially. Almost all students (91%) have their own computer with them at university, with laptops favoured over desktops.
  • Gone are the days of students’ carefree optimism about their future. A degree no longer guarantees a job upon graduation, resulting in a heightened sense of concern. Thirty-nine percent of all students are worried about their future employment opportunities, jumping to more than half of final year students.

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Table of contents

  1. Issues in the Market

      • Methodology
        • Abbreviations
        • Future Opportunities

          • Losing it
            • The great escape
              • Burning the midnight oil
                • Screen savers
                  • Log on to shop and party
                    • Giving them what they want
                      • Net working
                      • Market in Brief

                        • Is the degree worth the debt?
                          • University challenged
                            • Get connected
                              • Debt effects and funding crisis
                                • Recession, what recession?
                                  • Spend now, pay later
                                    • Mind the gap
                                      • Log on to life
                                        • At your leisure – in or out
                                          • Food retailers court loyalty
                                            • Hey, good looking
                                              • Future focus
                                              • Background – Student Demographics

                                                • Key points
                                                  • Student applications growing but slowing
                                                    • Class division
                                                      • Future uncertainty
                                                      • Students as Consumers: Getting There

                                                        • Key points
                                                          • Making the decision: Why university?
                                                            • Career prospects are a key factor but financial concerns are pressing
                                                              • Decision time: Why this university?
                                                              • Attitudes towards Fees and Recession

                                                                • Key points
                                                                  • Debt culture reigns…
                                                                    • Figure 1: Attitudes towards fees and job prospects, April 2010
                                                                  • …but not for all
                                                                      • Figure 2: Those definitely agreeing with the statement ‘I don’t like the idea of being in debt’ – students, by gender, 2009
                                                                    • Fees raise concern
                                                                      • Tuition fees threshold
                                                                        • Budget cuts loom
                                                                          • Spectre of debt prompts stay-at-home students
                                                                            • Riding out the recession
                                                                              • Career plans
                                                                                • Holding back the years
                                                                                  • Affluence indicators
                                                                                    • Figure 3: Attitudes towards fees and job prospects, by UniGroup, April 2010
                                                                                  • Stay-at-homes – less student-centric, more potential spend
                                                                                    • Essential debt
                                                                                      • Takeaway rather than eat in
                                                                                        • Money’s too tight to shop…or is it?
                                                                                          • Is the degree worth the debt?
                                                                                          • Accommodation and Financing the Student Lifestyle

                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                              • Accommodation
                                                                                                • During term time
                                                                                                  • What happens when the term ends?
                                                                                                    • Finance
                                                                                                      • Money management
                                                                                                        • Student loans
                                                                                                          • Paid employment
                                                                                                            • The bank of Mum and Dad
                                                                                                              • Help from banks
                                                                                                                • Budgeting
                                                                                                                  • Savings and standard of living
                                                                                                                    • Work to live
                                                                                                                    • Students’ Attitudes towards Travel

                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                        • Gap out of favour
                                                                                                                          • Figure 4: Attitudes towards students' travel lifestyles, April 2010
                                                                                                                        • The escape plan
                                                                                                                          • Gender divides attitudes...
                                                                                                                            • ....whilst First years don’t go home
                                                                                                                              • Type cast
                                                                                                                                • Figure 5: Attitudes towards students' travel lifestyles, by UniGroup, April 2010
                                                                                                                              • Gap not planned but advantageous
                                                                                                                              • PCs, Laptops and Media

                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                  • My laptop, my life
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 6: Statements on PCs, laptops and media, April 2010
                                                                                                                                  • Laptop living
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 7: Repertoire of technology items students have with them at university, April 2010
                                                                                                                                  • Men download…
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 8: Statements on PCs, laptops and media, by gender, April 2010
                                                                                                                                  • …whilst women have the wheels
                                                                                                                                    • Years define the possessions
                                                                                                                                      • Digital culture and mobile phones
                                                                                                                                        • Who’s paying?
                                                                                                                                          • The bank of Mum and Dad
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 9: Who paid for the computer while at university, April 2010
                                                                                                                                          • Who gets the handouts?
                                                                                                                                          • What’s in the Basket?

                                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                                              • Meal deals
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 10: Things bought during the university term during the past two weeks, April 2010
                                                                                                                                              • We have to shop…and drink
                                                                                                                                                • Girls in, boys out
                                                                                                                                                  • Elite consumers
                                                                                                                                                    • Other areas of spend
                                                                                                                                                    • The Leisure Principle

                                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                                        • Downtown delights…
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 11: Statements on leisure activities during the university term, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                        • …but we also like to stay in
                                                                                                                                                          • Money’s too tight
                                                                                                                                                            • Type determines attitude
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 12: Statements on leisure activities during the university term, by unitype, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                            • Years apart
                                                                                                                                                              • In the club
                                                                                                                                                                • Drinking, smoking, sports and a little bit of culture
                                                                                                                                                                  • It’s your round
                                                                                                                                                                    • Smoking – heavy or light?
                                                                                                                                                                      • Culture vultures
                                                                                                                                                                        • Sporting chance
                                                                                                                                                                          • The influence of the leisure proposition
                                                                                                                                                                            • Perfecting the work/life balance
                                                                                                                                                                              • Leisure habits
                                                                                                                                                                              • Eating, Cooking and Food Shopping Habits

                                                                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Healthy habits
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 13: Statements on eating, cooking and food shopping habits while at university, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                  • What’s the bill?
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Getting it home
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Learning curve
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Pass the points
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Beauty benefits
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Bringing out the foodie
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Looking Good

                                                                                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Shopping habits split
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 14: Statements on shopping habits while at university, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Girls good to shop…
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 15: Statements on shopping habits while at university, by gender, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                • …whilst boys get help
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • The need to look good
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • The kudos of vintage
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Targeting Opportunities

                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Get clean, then eat
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 16: Repertoire of things bought during the university term during the past two weeks, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • It’s a girl thing
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Parents pay out
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • The privileged ones
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Student lifestyle target groups
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 17: Student lifestyle target groups, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Confident workers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Money’s too tight
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Home bodies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Carefree hedonists
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 18: Target group, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Future Plans and Prospects

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Optimism may well have waned…
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • ...but ambition is strong
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 19: Agreement/disagreement that ‘I want to get to the very top in my career’ – students and non-students, by gender, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Realism reigns
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Are students feeling the squeeze?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – Student Demographics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 20: Students in UK Higher Education*, by type of course and gender, 1980/81-2007/08
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 21: Numbers of full-time undergraduates in UK, 1980/81-2008/09
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 22: Full-time undergraduates, by gender, 1980/81-2007/08
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 23: Higher Education initial participation rate* for English-domiciled first-time participants in Higher Education courses at UK Higher Education institutions and English, Welsh and Scottish Further Education colleges, 1999/2000-2007/08
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 24: Total number of university applicants, by entry cycle and gender, 2004-09
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 25: Accepted applicants onto Higher Education courses, by age, 2004-09
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 26: Total number of UK-based university applicants aged 18 and under, by entry cycle and socio-economic classification, 2007 and 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – Attitudes towards Fees and Recession

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 27: Most popular attitudes towards fees and job prospects, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 28: Next most popular attitudes towards fees and job prospects, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 29: Attitudes towards students' travel lifestyles, by most popular attitudes towards fees and job prospects, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 30: Attitudes towards students' travel lifestyles, by next most popular attitudes towards fees and job prospects, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 31: Statements on PCs, laptops and media, by most popular attitudes towards fees and job prospects, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 32: Statements on PCs, laptops and media, by next most popular attitudes towards fees and job prospects, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 33: Who paid for the computer while at university, by most popular attitudes towards fees and job prospects, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 34: Who paid for the computer while at university, by next most popular attitudes towards fees and job prospects, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 35: Things bought during the university term during the past two weeks, by most popular attitudes towards fees and job prospects, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 36: Things bought during the university term during the past two weeks, by next most popular attitudes towards fees and job prospects, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 37: Statements on leisure activities during the university term, by most popular attitudes towards fees and job prospects, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 38: Statements on leisure activities during the university term, by next most popular attitudes towards fees and job prospects, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 39: Statements on eating, cooking and food shopping habits while at university, by most popular attitudes towards fees and job prospects, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 40: Statements on eating, cooking and food shopping habits while at university, by next most popular attitudes towards fees and job prospects, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 41: Statements on shopping habits while at university, by most popular attitudes towards fees and job prospects, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 42: Statements on shopping habits while at university, by next most popular attitudes towards fees and job prospects, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 43: Attitudes towards fees and job prospects, by most popular attitudes towards fees and job prospects, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 44: Attitudes towards fees and job prospects, by next most popular attitudes towards fees and job prospects, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – Accommodation and Financing the Student Lifestyle

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 45: Ownership of credit cards and store cards – students and non-students, by gender, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 46: Ownership of savings account and ISAs – students and non-students, by gender, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 47: Agreement/disagreement that ‘I am very good at managing money’ – students and non-students, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 48: Agreement/disagreement that ‘I tend to spend money without thinking’ – students and non-students, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 49: Agreement/disagreement that ‘I am perfectly happy with my standard of living’ – students and non-students, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix –Students’ Attitudes towards Travel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 50: Attitudes towards students' travel lifestyles, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 51: Attitudes towards students' travel lifestyles, by attitudes towards students' travel lifestyles, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – PCs, Laptops and Media

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 52: Most popular statements on PCs, laptops and media, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 53: Next most popular statements on PCs, laptops and media, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 54: Statements on PCs, laptops and media, by most popular statements on PCs, laptops and media, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 55: Statements on PCs, laptops and media, by next most popular statements on PCs, laptops and media, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 56: Items have, by repertoire of technology items students have with them at university, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 57: Repertoire of technology items students have with them at university, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 58: Car ownership – students and non-students, by gender, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 59: Ownership of MP3/digital music player and MP4/digital music and video player – students and non-students, by gender, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 60: Mobile phone ownership – students and non-students, by gender, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 61: Who paid for the computer while at university, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – What’s in the Basket?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 62: Most popular things bought during the university term during the past two weeks, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 63: Next most popular things bought during the university term during the past two weeks, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 64: Other things bought during the university term during the past two weeks, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 65: Least popular things bought during the university term during the past two weeks, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 66: Spending on hardback and paperback books in the last 12 months – students and non-students, by gender, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 67: Agreement/disagreement that ‘I spend a lot of money on toiletries and cosmetics for personal use’ – students and non-students, by gender, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – The Leisure Principle

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 68: Most popular statements on leisure activities during the university term, by demographics, April 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 69: Next most popular statements on leisure activities during the university term, by demographics, April 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 70: Other statements on leisure activities during the university term, by demographics, April 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 71: Accepted applicants onto Higher Education courses, by age, 2004-09
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 72: Statements on leisure activities during the university term, by most popular statements on leisure activities during the university term, April 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 73: Statements on leisure activities during the university term, by next most popular statements on leisure activities during the university term, April 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 74: Statements on leisure activities during the university term, by other statements on leisure activities during the university term, April 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 75: Agreement/disagreement that ‘I worry about work during my leisure time’ – students and non-students, by gender, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 76: Frequency of pub drinking, daytime – students and non-students, by gender, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 77: Frequency of pub drinking, evening – students and non-students, by gender, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 78: Cigarette smoking – students and non-students, by gender, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 79: Agreement/disagreement that ‘I consider myself interested in the Arts’ – students and non-students, by gender, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 80: Cultural activities in past year – students and non-students, by gender, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 81: Agreement/disagreement that ‘I am a regular cinema-goer’ – students and non-students, by gender, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 82: Agreement/disagreement that ‘I do some form of sport or exercise at least once a week’ – students and non-students, by gender, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 83: Those participating in any individual or team sports – students and non-students, by gender, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – Eating, Cooking and Food Shopping Habits

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 84: Most popular statements on eating, cooking and food shopping habits while at university, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 85: Next most popular statements on eating, cooking and food shopping habits while at university, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 86: Other statements on eating, cooking and food shopping habits while at university, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 87: Statements on eating, cooking and food shopping habits while at university, by most popular statements on eating, cooking and food shopping habits while at university, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 88: Statements on eating, cooking and food shopping habits while at university, by next most popular statements on eating, cooking and food shopping habits while at university, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 89: Statements on eating, cooking and food shopping habits while at university, by other statements on eating, cooking and food shopping habits while at university, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 90: Agreement/disagreement that ‘I really enjoy cooking’ – students and non-students, by gender, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – Looking Good

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 91: Most popular statements on shopping habits while at university, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 92: Next most popular statements on shopping habits while at university, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 93: Statements on shopping habits while at university, by most popular statements on shopping habits while at university, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 94: Statements on shopping habits while at university, by next most popular statements on shopping habits while at university, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 95: Agreement/disagreement that ‘I like to keep up with the latest fashions’ – students and non-students, by gender, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 96: Agreement/disagreement that ‘It is important to me to look well dressed’ – students and non-students, by gender, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 97: Agreement/disagreement that ‘I really enjoy shopping for clothes’ – students and non-students, by gender, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 98: Agreement/disagreement that ‘I spend a lot on clothes’ – students and non-students, by gender, 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – Targeting Opportunities

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 99: Things bought during the university term during the past two weeks, by repertoire of things bought during the university term during the past two weeks, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 100: Repertoire of number of items parents help with, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 101: Number of items parents help with, by repertoire of number of items parents help with, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 102: Attitudes towards fees and job prospects, by target groups, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 103: Attitudes towards students' travel lifestyles, by target groups, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 104: Statements on PCs, laptops and media, by target groups, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 105: Who paid for the computer while at university, by target groups, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 106: Things bought during the university term during the past two weeks, by target groups, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 107: Statements on leisure activities during the university term, by target groups, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 108: Statements on eating, cooking and food shopping habits while at university, by target groups, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 109: Statements on shopping habits while at university, by target groups, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 110: Repertoire of technology items students have with them at university, by target groups, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 111: Repertoire of things bought during the university term during the past two weeks, by target groups, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 112: Repertoire of number of items parents help with, by target groups, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 113: Repertoire of things bought during the university term during the past two weeks, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 114: Repertoire of number of items parents help with, by demographics, April 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – Future Plans and Prospects

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 115: Agreement/disagreement that ‘I like to enjoy life and don’t worry about the future’ – students and non-students, by gender, 2009

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Student Lifestyles - UK - June 2010

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