UK: First-Year Students’ Weekly Spending Hits Record High

United Kingdom Europe Higher Education News by Erudera News Mar 22, 2022

UK currency

Spending of first-year students in the United Kingdom during their first week at university has increased for the third year in a row, according to the annual “Freshers Report 2022” published by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), an independent charity connecting people to university.

The report, which was previously called the UCAS Student Lifestyle Report) includes over 7,000 students surveyed about their lifestyles, spending, and choices they have made as they began studies in the UK in autumn 2021.

The findings show that students’ spending went up to £421 a week in 2021, from £406 in 2020 and £368 in 2019, reports.

Moreover, the average weekly spending during the term also increased to £235 in 2021, up from £229 in 2020 and £214 in 2019.

Head of Customer Growth at UCAS, Rebecca Hopwood, said that this particular UCAS report offers every business the opportunity to find out what matters most to students as they begin their new lives independently.  

“We need to remember that these students started their degrees in the second year of the pandemic, impacting trends with new choices emerging. The overall patterns are clear though, today’s students are resilient, likely to find the positive in change and are ready to spend with the brands they truly value,” Hopwood said.

Key findings include:

  • Amazon has become the most popular brand for first-year students.
  • 83 percent of first-year students use Netflix.
  • Tesco continues to be the top choice for groceries; however it has fallen to 58 percent.
  • ALDI and LIDL are the joint-second choices, with 37 percent of students choosing them as the most frequented markets – both retailers are listed among the top overall 20 brands.
  • Instagram is the main choice of social media among first-year students.
  • Only half of the first-year students now use Facebook, a decrease from 85 percent in 2015.
  • Spending on smartphones and tablets has increased, with the potential tech bill for students reaching over £2,000.
  • On average, spending for a smartphone stands at £629 while tablet and laptop owners pay £645 and £799, respectively.
  • Kitchenware and homeware spending has increased by 10 percent on last year.
  • Chatting with family and friends online has increased by 15 percent, becoming the most popular way for first-year students to spend their spare time.

For this report, UCAS says it sent three surveys to 7,296 first-year students in the United Kingdom, collecting students’ responses during the period between October 28 and November 11, 2021.

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