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OBERLIN, Ohio--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A study of the shopping habits of current college students reveals that future mainstream consumers will be convenience-oriented and price-conscious, and will expect not only a good variety of products but also pleasant interactions with employees in retail establishments.
That's the key finding of Student Watch,. a study of 18-to-22-year-olds' shopping habits funded by the National Association of College Stores. Further, the study found that brand names and the ability to order special items appeals to male students; while females are more discriminating about speed during checkout and the store's projection of a fun shopping environment.
While both sexes report visiting supermarkets more often than other retail establishments, female students appear to be greater bargain hunters and shop with more frequency at discount stores, department stores or drug stores. In contrast, men are notably more likely to shop online than women, out-shopping women 77 percent to 69 percent.
Not surprisingly, the number of student buyers online has now risen to 72 percent and the vast majority of students (83.5 percent) claim to be either "extremely happy" or "somewhat satisfied" with their last online purchase, although the percentage has dropped since 2000 when 90 percent of students reported satisfactory experiences online.
On average, students make purchases 57 percent of the time they go shopping. About half of them (51.5 percent) pay for things they buy at the college store with credit and debit cards while the other half pay with cash or check.
"Students often form habits in college that lay the groundwork for life-long purchasing behaviors," said Scott Giesler, executive director of the NACS Foundation. Conducted on 19 campuses and using data gathered from 2,368 students, the Student Watch data has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percent.