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Social media has a pervasive influence on the spending habits of 88% of university students according to an Australian-first study released today.
The UniBank Social Spending Report looked at the influence of social media on university student spending habits and how it affects students’ personal finances.
Almost half (43%) of students cited the seamless in-platform shopping experience of Instagram and Facebook as a major trigger for how much they spent via social media.
Over a third (39%) of students also cite FOMO (otherwise known as ‘fear of missing out’) and peer pressure via social media as another driver.
“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 also showed key differences in the way social media influences male and female spending habits. Men are most influenced by what they see on social media when choosing restaurants, cafes and bars (61%), followed by festivals and events (55%) and travel (35%) while female students feel more influenced to spend on fashion and beauty (71%), followed by restaurants, cafes and bars (66%) and then festivals and events (57%).
Despite 72% of university students saying they always consider what they can afford before they spend, a third (32%) admitted to some buyer’s remorse saying they had regretted spending their money on a purchase made through social media. Key regrets were wishing they had spent on something better or more important (65%) or the purchase not being what they wanted (32%).
On a more general basis, the report also revealed that nearly three-quarters (73%) are most likely to seek financial advice from friends and family, but only 6% of university students track their finances through a dedicated budget app or online bookkeeping system.
When it came to methods used to make purchases on social media, the majority of university students (82%) used their own savings or debit card, while only 15% use credit cards.
“Your early student years are formative in establishing a healthy attitude towards managing money. The research shows students are taking control of their spending habits, but a budget app or planner can really help build strong, long-term financial stability,” said Mr Lanzing.
“If you’re a student, particularly living away of home, it’s a challenging time balancing work, study and social commitments. If you really want to build financial independence and save, reorganising your finances or simply taking a breather before making a purchase via social media could make a big difference,” added Mr. Lanzing.
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Facts from the UniBank Social Spending Report