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?
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.
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.
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.