The Student Princes

Nearly a million of them, spending R30bn a year, the South African student market promises a lot of bang for its buck. Forget your clichéd image of penniless teenagers working nights in bars to pay their college fees: these kids have more money than the average South African citizen. The student spends R32 000 a year which is 28% more than the average Joe Soap. Sam Koenderman reNewTWITports.

Understanding how they spend their money is important to marketers who want to get into the heads and pockets of the student.

Last week, Student Village released their annual survey on student spending in South Africa. The survey of just over 3000 students revealed a number of insights. For starters, boys spend slightly more than girls. What’s also notable is that, while boys will spend their monthly average of R2800 on (in this order) alcohol, bling and jewellery, recreational and sporting equipment and clothing and footwear, girls are spending R2600 on hairdressers and beauticians, medical and health, contraception, cigarettes and tobacco.

Of course, in South Africa, nothing is black and white. Coloured students are spending their money on clothing, software and games, and takeaways, white students are buying contraception, music and toiletries and cosmetics, while black students are buying alcohol, petrol and bling.

Another interesting fact is that, while the rest of South Africa is embracing online shopping, students are a bit reticent, due primarily to security concerns. When they are buying online, it’s books (32%), music (24%), and clothing (18%).

While this particular market is notorious for their “live in the now” attitude, with designer brands, bling and partying being part of their everyday life, they do have a responsible side that thinks about the future. According to the survey, students want to learn about managing their cash. Particularly they want to learn about saving (61%), budgeting (54%), investing (46%), how loans work (19%), and credit  (14%).

To view the full report, visit

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