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Return to university an opportunity for brands


By Richard Jenkings, Lead Consultant, Experian Marketing Services

October 9, 2014 | 3 min read

There’s no doubt that student spending has a significant impact on local economies up and down the UK, and with millions of students currently returning to university, it is important that businesses prepare well in order to be able to effectively target and engage with the student population.

Richard Jenkings, Lead Consultant, Experian Marketing Services

Richard Jenkings, Lead Consultant, Experian Marketing Services

According to ONS data, overall student spending power has increased by over £655 million during the last ten years. Research by Experian now also forecasts that this trend is set to continue, with the combined annual UK student spend figure expected to reach approximately £20 billion by 2017.

The Return of ‘Uniland’

Experian’s research shows that many town centres up and down the country are made up of buy-to let properties which are almost exclusively inhabited by students. These areas, dubbed ‘Uniland’, play a vital role in the economic prosperity of these towns.

For a number of towns, such as Manchester, Oxford and Nottingham, the imported spending power of large numbers of students strengthens the local economy significantly during term time, and businesses should be looking to capitalise on the boom in local economies. In Nottingham, for example, the student population has increased by almost 7000 extra students since 2003 increasing their projected ‘Uniland’ spending power by in excess of £56 million over the same time period.

Knowing the Student Audience

In terms of key characteristics, ‘Uniland’ areas will see a dramatic increase in internet usage during term time. Students are prolific users of the internet, and they are also the most likely to use their smartphones to check social media and shop online compared to the national average.

Drawing on this data, along with an understanding of the demographics and spending power within local towns and cities and how this changes over the course of a year, will help business engage with this consumer group, and device campaigns at the right time and with the right messages.

Individuals will benefit from information that is tailored to their interests and needs, and businesses can prosper as they can use the data to identify appropriate locations for setting up stores and areas relevant for marketing different services and offers.

With student spending power continuing to increase, the return of ‘Uniland’ will continue to be a great opportunity to marketers and brands that are looking to engage new audiences in these towns and cities – it is an opportunity not to be ignored.

Marketing Retail Experian Marketing Services

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