Student Online Shopping Habits

Ailina Cunningham, Staff Writer

College students spent $39.6 billion on food alone in 2020

“Only 90s kids will remember when…” a phrase we hear all too often when referring to the pre-internet and electronic days. Now, to buy anything from pizza to school supplies, such as pencils, retractors, and calculators, one needs only to turn to their phone or laptop to buy everything. However, when given the opportunity, what exactly are college kids buying online? According to Lexington Law, writer of a college spending habits blog, “67 percent of millennial college students received $2,000 or less from their parents each year in 2020.” While simultaneously “44 percent of millennial college students worked every year they were in school in 2020.” The stereotype of the millennial using all their parents’ money statistically just isn’t accurate. Which leaves the question; where is all that money going? 

When they get their paycheck what is the student spending it on? College students on average are buying things like food, textbooks, and small entertainment expenses. As noted by the NPD Group, there was a 30 percent increase in video game sales during the year 2020 throughout lockdown. This indicates that instead of using spare money to go out to eat, or to go to the movies, people use their entertainment money to buy video games such as the new Animal Crossing, which came out in March.

According to Lexington Law, “college students spent $39.6 billion on food alone in 2020.” This indicates that even though 2020 was a very odd year to live in, it did narrow people’s spending habits down to the necessities because people were unable to go into the public and spend money as they usually would have. Now college students are spending their money on DoorDash, UberEATS and Postmates. 

It was also seen that students are more likely to use online sources to supplement getting their books and materials, such as finding free resources to give them the same materials so that they may save their money in case of emergencies. In fact, in this digital day and age having a hard copy of a book at all may be viewed as cumbersome, as most opt to find one of the books and rent them. According to Lexington law, “65 percent of students who opted for digital textbooks purchased them individually, while 29 percent reported purchasing them through a subscription in 2019.” 

This brings a new perspective on the spending habits and choices made by college students. It may be surprising given the societal norms expecting college students to be spending their money frivolously, however, according to these studies that seems not to be the case.

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