A FRESHER PERSPECTIVE

Going to uni is a huge step

 

The transition between A level results day and Freshers’ Week will often be the first time many young people have made their own purchasing decisions.

It might only last around eight weeks, but for brands, getting the message and timing right during this critical period can mean brand loyalty through university, out into work, and beyond.

We followed ten students as they made that transition, and asked 1,800 more about their experiences. The full presentation of our findings is available here. We’ll continue to follow our panel as they progress through uni, so keep coming back for more insight.

Through our research, we established the idea of an ‘emotional journey’ in the run-up to starting uni – a period of four phases that directly impact students’ purchasing decisions and buying behaviours.

 

Celebration, preparation, realisation, adaption

 

 Celebration - Post results day euphoria

Their place has been confirmed and they’re feeling an overwhelming sense of relief. Their response is to reaffirm their success as they make tactical and easy purchasing decisions.

Our student panel said:


Amy Gill

‘Now that I have my place, I have started to buy all the stationery, books, bags and all the important things that I will need.’
Amy G


Laura

‘I bought lots of things for my room, and a designer bag to celebrate.’
Laura


Paul George

‘I bought pots and pans, books, books and more books - and packing boxes - as soon as I had my place confirmed.’
Paul


George McKillop

‘I’ve now purchased kitchen items, an iron, and also books for my reading list (which on its own has come to a whopping £190)!’
George


Munibah Saleem

‘I began buying for uni straightaway. Many things are a really good bargain.’
Munibah

 Preparation - reality hits and decisions need to be made

During this period, students draw on a range of external influencers to help them - both rational and emotional. These decisions tend to be bigger - bank accounts, accommodation, and travel all feature heavily.

Our student panel said:


Lily Hollowbread

‘Things like discounted railcards, free NUS cards and the like are the most popular freebies which my friends have switched banks to enjoy.’
Lily


Catrin Haberfield

‘I’m rather ashamed to say I did zero research. I was sent an email by my bank to turn it into a student saver account. When it’s that easy – why not?’
Catrin


George McKillop

‘I chose because the bank offer a free railcard for four years.’
George


Munibah Saleem

‘Picking your undergraduate student bank is a big decision, so I did some thorough research. If you are not looking for an overdraft like me, then pick a bank that gives you freebies.’
Munibah


Szonja Nemeth

‘I have decided to buy a monthly travel pass, which will cost me £123 per month, which I think is a fair price in London. I also looked at the Oyster card, however I think the monthly pass is a better choice for me.’
Szonja


Lily Hollowbread

‘I'm going self-catered so I can decide what and how I eat in addition to saving a lot of money per year but with this means buying the contents of a small kitchen.’
Lily

 Realisation - A life-changing transition - leaving what's familiar

Moving home, making new friends, living in a new area, budgeting and managing their own lives. These all now influence purchasing decisions.

Our student panel said:


George McKillop

‘My budgeting skills are somewhat lacking, and I’m currently buying too much food that’s unfortunately being wasted.'
George


Munibah Saleem

‘Some students may be sensible when purchasing things at university, but of course others are not as sensible!’
Munibah


Martin Griffiths

‘The first thing I bought when I came to university was a VPLUS membership which gives me discounted access to local events. Other than that, pretty much a stereotype. Food, alcohol, society memberships, and a leisure centre annual pass.’
Martin


Amy Gill

‘I bought a new phone. My new phone is amazing, I can use it for writing lecture notes at uni and it has everything I need for everyday use.’
Amy G


George McKillop

‘I’ve had to spend money on societies and living essentials, so once those costs are out of the way, I’m sure I’ll improve on my money management. I really hope so anyway!’
George

 Adaption - settling in to a new life

Our student panel said:


Amy Rickenberg

‘I’ve noticed that money is playing a big part on how I live week-on-week. I buy food, things for lectures, then see how I stand after all of that.’
Amy R


Szonja Nemeth

‘Each uni book costs between £20 and £60. The total amount that I spent was around £200. The only other purchase I made this week was on food shopping. I used several special student vouchers and codes to make my purchases cheaper.’
Szonja


Amy Rickenberg

‘Think my biggest fall was going home at the weekend. Cost more than I thought it was going to!’
Amy R

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