You can get your hands on a copy here, before the whole report is published next month.
Having spent 15 years working in education, accommodation, and insurance – I’ve seen plenty of market forces at work first hand. From the 2008 recession and recovery, to the 2016 referendum, 2020’s pandemic, and now 2022’s war in Ukraine plus a cost-of-living increase – we’ve been through a lot.
But if there’s one thing I’ve seen stay steady throughout, it’s the modern student.
Somehow the most resilient, elastic, determined, and buoyant demographic of us all – they’ve been reliable stalwarts of spending. Spurred on by the necessary purchases of study and a commitment to live life to the full, they’re valuable customers to brands at home and abroad. I know it personally, as a proud member of the University of Wales’ Class of ‘08, and I know it professionally, having worked with young people for much of my career. They are amazingly steadfast people.
And now we’re seeing even more proof, in even more challenging circumstances.
By choosing cheaper and cutting back, they may well be making fewer purchases pre-uni, but they’re still finding ways to fund the important stuff once they’re there. By getting savvy with self-employment, taking more part-time jobs than we’ve seen, using discount sites, and deciding on their accommodation more carefully – their week-to-week spending has only fallen by 7% this year. That means they’re still shelling out more than £200 per week which, across three 12 week terms, still amounts to more than £8,000 per year.
In real estate, my area of focus, it’s even more interesting. At the moment, 18% of students are living at home while they study. Compared to 2020, that’s astronomically high. Compared to 2021, it’s lower than it was. And according to NatWest’s Student Living Index, student rents are 12% cheaper.
But then electricity’s 67% up and not every student benefits from the Energy Bills Support Scheme.
With so many moving parts, it’s difficult to forecast what’s coming next. I’m standing by the infamous strength of students and predicting that they’re going to keep calm and carry on regardless. Like all of us, they’re going to need the support of those closest to them – their families, peers, universities, and indeed UCAS – but I’m confident that they’ll weather the storm as well as any of us.
For a deeper dive into how the cost-of-living is impacting students and their spending, read the first chapter of the Student Lifestyle Report 2023 from tomorrow. With charts, trends, and analysis – it’s got everything you need to know for your engagement this year. If you sign up here, you’ll get it straight to your inbox, along with each chapter as it’s released and the final report in April.