news release


Return of ‘UniLand’ set to boost town centre economies

 Student spending power has increased by over £655m in the last 10 years
Annual UK student spend forecast to be close to the £20bn mark by 2017

London, 24 September 2014 – As millions of students get set to return to University, businesses across the UK will be gearing up to see how they can benefit and attract a potentially new set of customers. With an average estimated individual spend of over £11,0001 each year, and a combined spending power in excess of £19.7bn, the student market has a significant economic impact. 
Insight provided by Experian, the global information services company, reveals 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. Following a quiet summer, the return of the student population (and their disposal income) will see many shops and leisure facilities enjoy a much needed upsurge in business. 

According to ONS data, in the UK, overall student spending power has increased by over £655 million during the last ten years. And this spending power is set to continue to grow. Experian research has forecast the combined annual UK student spend figure to be approximately £20 billion by 2017.

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. 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.

The Experian insights also reveal that these ‘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.

Nigel Wilson, Managing Director, Consumer Insight, Experian Marketing Services, said: “Understanding the demographics and spending power within any city or town and how this changes over the course of the year is essential insight for businesses, helping them to reach the right customers at the right time.

“Retailers and consumer brands in particular can draw on this data to help them to identify the most appropriate locations for their stores and where to market particular services or offers.  People themselves also benefit through being provided with relevant information that best fits their needs.”

The insights provided by Experian come from their leading consumer classification system, Mosaic, which reflects the latest consumer and societal trends.


Note to editors:

1Source: ONS average annual expenditure per UK student.

Methodology:  Average weekly expenditure per student in £’s taken from the ONS Living Costs and Food Survey for the period 2003-2012. After converting the data to an annual series of expenditures the 2012 value was grown each year to 2017, in line with the annual growth in expenditure in the ‘Study Buddies’ Experian Mosaic Economics type forecast. ONS figures for student population by higher education institution for the UK and the three featured universities up to 2013 were then grown forward to 2017, based on average annual growth rates in the 2003–2013 period. Finally the total spend of all students in the UK and featured universities was calculated on a per week and annual basis, by multiplying the populations by the per week and per year expenditures.


Nick Jones
Head of PR, Experian Marketing Services
07583 297082

Matthew Tubbs
Ruder Finn for Experian Marketing Services

About Experian
Experian® is the leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to clients around the world. The Group helps businesses to manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automate decision making. Experian also helps individuals to check their credit report and credit score, and protect against identity theft.

Experian plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Total revenue for the year ended March 31, 2014, was US$4.8 billion. Experian employs approximately 16,000 people in 39 countries and has its corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; California, US; and São Paulo, Brazil.

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