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Social media impacts student spending habits

Social media has a significant impact on the spending habits of university students, according to the latest UniBank Social Spending Report.

According to the report, digital platforms influence the spending of 88 per cent of students. Almost half (43 per cent) of students surveyed noted that the seamless, in-platform shopping experience of Instagram and Facebook are a major trigger for how much they spend through social media, with over a third (39 per cent) citing FOMO [fear of missing out] and peer pressure as driving factors.

“If you’re aged under 25, you’re constantly exposed to aspirational lifestyles on social media so it’s not surprising to see it has a real impact on students’ spending habits,” said UniBank general manager, Mike Lanzing.

The report found a stark difference between what male and female students are compelled to spend their money on when influenced by social media.

Men are far more influenced to make a purchasing decision when choosing restaurants, cafes and bars (61 per cent), festivals and events (55 per cent) and travel destinations (35 per cent).

Women, on the other hand, were more likely to be influenced to purchase fashion and beauty items (71 per cent), followed by restaurants cafes and bars (66 per cent) and festivals and events (57 per cent), while 32 per cent of students admitted a level of buyer’s remorse, despite 72 per cent always considering what they can afford before spending any money.

Common regrets in purchasing behaviour include 65 per cent of students “wishing they had spent on something better or more important”, and 32 per cent finding the purchase not being what they wanted.

Almost 20 percent of students polled were surprised when a social media purchase turned up which they had forgotten about.

While an overwhelming majority, 82 per cent of university students polled, noted they used their own savings or debit card, there is a clear consumer trend toward the use of “Buy now, pay later” (BNPL) methods to make purchases.

According to Australia Post’s Inside Australian Online Shopping Report, BNPL services accounted for 7.7 per cent, or $1.6 billion, of total online goods spent in 2017.

Appealing mainly to the 18-39 year old demographic due to the instant gratification provided, this trend is expected to quickly spread through other demographics and categories as more online retailers adopt a BNPL option at checkout.

The report also notes that online shoppers are becoming more comfortable making purchases on mobile devices, with one in five purchases being made from a mobile device, a six per cent increase from the previous year.

By contrast, transactions made from desktops and laptops fell by 11 per cent over the same period.

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