The College Market Influencers


The Millennial generation carries a lot of purchasing power and influence. Basically, they are the ones who dictate what does well and what does not. But what drives this thinking? What influences this generation? In this post, we’ll take a look at the biggest motivators and influencers of the college market today.


Students Love Deals

Nothing motivates a college student more than a great deal. Millennials are more willing to try something new if they feel that they are getting more value for their buck. However, be cautious of how you label your promotion. According to Millennials surveyed by Brand Aptitude, a “deal” suggests exclusivity and offers more satisfaction, whereas a “sale” suggests something that is available to everyone and can imply a loss of value. Research shows (courtesy of Retail TouchPoints) that over 90% of Millennials share the deals they find. 43% share via social media and 71% share the deals they find by word of mouth. Those who feel they have found a great shopping deal are more inspired to pass it along.


Social Shopping

College students view shopping as a social activity; typically, they prefer not to shop alone. College students value their friends’ opinions. A huge motivator of making a purchase or trying a new product is peer approval. According to the 8095 Study conducted by PSFK, one in three Millennials won’t make a purchase without approval from their friends first. Because shopping is such a social experience, it is now up to the retailer to make that experience fun and engaging in any way possible. Even something as simple as allowing your customers to touch and feel the merchandise, or to sample or test out the products before buying can do the trick. Encouraging touching or handling of the merchandise increases a sense of ownership towards the product which creates more sales. Plus, testing out products is a great group activity that also allows for increased impulse purchasing.

Shopping is also a very sharable experience for college students. Good or bad, Millennial students feel that it’s their responsibility to share that experience with others.



College students today expect retail to incorporate the technology that they have come to rely on into their purchasing routine. Stores must provide an integrated experience if they are truly hoping to capture and retain this audience. Millennials welcome an offer to opt-in to receive special mobile or app promotions. They want to be able to research their products on your website before purchasing in your store. The technology experience is one that they are hoping to receive to satisfy that customer-centric shopping experience they so crave. In fact, Millennials are more likely to purchase and remain loyal to those retailers who can engage them on all media platforms.


When it comes to college students and retail, it’s the students who call the shots on what they want, when they want it, and how. By paying attention to the elusive factors that motivate these students’ purchases you can take advantage of these influences and put them to work for you. Giving attention to these factors is a great way to increase your sales, gain new customers, and gather customer loyalty.

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