University students to spend over £30bn in 2015

Town centres to be boosted by ‘UniLand’ spending of over £37bn by 2020

London, 23 September 15 – Many UK businesses look set for their best ever spending boost from   university students in the coming academic year, according to new figures revealed by Experian.

Following a quiet summer, the return of the student population and their disposable income, will see many shops and leisure facilities enjoy a much needed upsurge in revenue. Experian research predicts that overall spending for this group will be just over £30bn for 2015.

Individual university student spend is estimated to average just over £13,000 for the academic year of 2015 / 2016. These figures highlight the significant economic impact this demographic continues to have during term time.

Most university 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.

Richard Jenkings, Senior Consultant at Experian Marketing Services, said: “Student spending power has improved considerably in recent years and is set to increase a further seven billion pounds by 2020. This is a phenomenal amount and shows the impact this demographic has on local businesses and services in towns across the UK. 

“However it is important to remember that the rising cost of living is also having an impact. Living costs across the country have shot up, alongside increases in the price of food and leisure activities. This coupled with ever increasing rent, means that students still have to manage their disposable income carefully. Businesses need to recognise this and engage the ‘UniLand’ population with relevant messages and promotions.

“Understanding student spending habits and how they access information on a daily basis is vital for retailers - and consumer brands in particular. It’s important that brands recognise the impact of this key consumer group and plan how to market their services or offers to this demographic in the right way and at the right time.”

For a number of towns, the flood of students comes as a welcome lift for local economies. According to ONS data, since 2010, total overall spending is estimated to have increased by £1.4bn. This shows no sign of slowing as the same data also predicts that the UK annual spend figure for students will be approximately £37bn by 2020. 

Experian can also reveal that this group’s preference for interactions is via social media, with students being 1.7 times more likely than the UK average to log into Facebook on a daily basis and 2.5 times more likely than the average to check Twitter every day.

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


Methodology:  Average expenditure per student in UK currency per week was taken from the ONS Living Costs and Food Survey for the period 2003-2013. After converting the data to an annual series of expenditures, the 2013 value was grown each year to 2020, in line with the annual growth in expenditure in the ‘Student Scene’ Mosaic type, taken from Experian Mosaic. ONS figures for student population by higher education institution for the UK up to 2013 were then grown forward to 2020, 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 expenditure numbers.


Nick Jones

Head of PR, Experian Marketing Services

07583 297082

About Experian

We are the leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to our clients around the world. We help businesses to manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automate decision making. We also help people to check their credit report and credit score, and protect against identity theft.  In 2014, we were named by Forbes magazine as one of the ‘World’s Most Innovative Companies’.

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