New research: student discounts and the opportunity for retailers

83% of students saying that if a retailer offers a student discount they are more likely to shop there

Image: Howard Lake

Image: Howard Lake

Here at Student Beans we've just released some brand new research which reveals an opportunity for retailers that provide a cross-channel approach to student discounts, with 83% of students saying that if a retailer offers a student discount they are more likely to shop there.

We surveyed 722 UK university students on their online shopping habits and their attitudes towards student discounts. 67% of students say that as a student they expect a discount, but the good news for retailers is that 85% of respondents say that the experience they have with a brand during their time at university is likely to influence where they shop or what they buy in the future.

38% of respondents spend more than 5 hours a week shopping online and 66% have redeemed a student discount online in the last month (21% have redeemed a student discount via a mobile app). H&M, River Island and Primark were the top three brands that students wished offered a student discount all year round, whilst Tesco, Boots and Nando’s also featured in the top ten.

Whilst demand for student specific discounts is high, access to them online is limited because most retailers don’t have a way of verifying a shoppers’ student status online. Student Beans has developed a student verification technology to solve this problem so retailers can bring their in-store offers online. SBiD facilitates discounts in over 20 countries globally, helping retailers to convert more student visitors online and increasing traffic through Student Beans’ own marketing channels and a mobile app. Brands including Topshop, French Connection, Sainsbury’s Mobile, Goldsmiths, Umbro, MOO and Topdeck Travel are already benefitting.

Prevent offer leakage for retailers

The research also revealed that  50% of students admit they have given their student card for someone else to use, whilst 28% have previously borrowed a student card from someone else. Over half of recent graduates (53%) had tried to use their student discount card once it had expired.

Dissatisfaction with how discounts are handled by online retailers

When the process of getting a student discount online is too difficult, 69% of student shoppers are unlikely to go ahead with the purchase. Having to enter a lot of personal details is the biggest turn off for students redeeming a discount online (37%), followed by when it it’s too difficult to find a student discount for a particular brand (26%) and when the process to redeem a student discount is too complex (21%).

Many retailers offer student discounts in-store, but are reluctant to extend their offer online. There is a fear of devaluing their brand and being unable to prove a customer’s student status online which can lead to abuse by non-students. It can potentially cost them a lot of money. We are helping retailers solve these problems - SBiD is a secure technology platform and leverages the trusted Student Beans brand which has been a household name for millions of students for over 9 years.
— Simon Eder, Commercial Director, Student Beans
Some websites don’t make it clear how to access a discount code, or where to input one you already have. For example I’ve had difficulty using Amazon’s student discount in the past, and if I can’t use the discount it is sometimes more cost effective to shop elsewhere. I have used my student card to get my family a discount - if I’m out shopping with them I will make the purchase to take advantage of my discount. Some websites ask specifically for NUS numbers, so I’ve shared these details with friends as although they are students, they have not paid for an NUS card.
— Emma, final year student, University of Birmingham

 All statistics are taken from a Student Beans online survey of 722 university students in the UK. Fieldwork was undertaken between 4th October and 3rd December 2014. For a copy of the research results, please contact: