Discretionary Purchases, Digital Devices Drive College Spending

College students may not make much income individually, but they do have strength in numbers.

According to a Nationwide report, as a demographic, college students have nearly half a trillion dollars in spending power, and a huge amount of that capital goes towards “discretionary spending.”

What, you ask, falls under such a category? Pretty much exactly what you associate with college purchases – fast food, movies, clothes, technology and perhaps the occasional bar tab as well.

What else did Nationwide learn about students and their spending?

Student Income
Three out of four students hold jobs while in college, but between their salary and help from mom and dad, average an income of just $1,200 a month. Still, that gives the college demographic $417 billion in spending power, about 40 percent of which is spent on discretionary items.

College Credits
According to the survey, 84 percent of undergrads have at least one credit card, and nine out of 10 will use their cards for educational purposes. But regardless of to what end students are using their cards, not all are adept at managing their finances. Twenty-one percent of undergrads graduation with a credit card balance between $3,000 and $7,000, and seniors graduate with an average of $4,100 in debt.

Always Online
Nationwide says that college students own an average of six digital devices, and spend 11.4 hours per day using said machines. Computer and mobile phone use are nearly universal, ringing in at 97 percent and 94 percent, respectively, while a quarter of students now own tablets as well.

To see more stats about how college kids spend their cash and credit, view the full infographic below.

Source: dailyinfographic.com

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Exclusive PYMNTS Study: 

The Future Of Unattended Retail Report: Vending As The New Contextual Commerce, a PYMNTS and USA Technologies collaboration, details the findings from a survey of 2,325 U.S. consumers about their experiences with shopping via unattended retail channels and their interest in using them going forward.

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