Student shopping statistics

Where are UK students spending their money?

With over 2 million people studying in UK higher education institutions, student shopping and student banking are huge markets. If you’re a student, it’s worth looking out for exclusive student discounts offered for both everyday necessities and higher-priced items to make sure you are always getting the best deal. We put on our investigation shorts to have a look at where exactly the student’s money goes.

The average UK student’s monthly spending

Expense Cost per month
Rent £406
Food £108
Social £64
Travel £47
Bills £37
Clothes £34
Books £20
Mobile phone £18
Drugs £5
Other £31
TOTAL £770
While rent makes up the vast majority of a student’s monthly budget (53%), students are still spending a significant portion of their budget on everyday commodities like food, social events and travel. These costs make up almost 30% of the average spend. A smaller proportion of their budget is dedicated to funding luxury purchases, like clothing and mobile phones.

Compared to 2017, rent costs have increased by £12 on average, however, students are still spending £51 less overall. This could be attributed to students’ extra savvy attitudes when it comes to shopping around for utilities, food and clothing.

Online shopping habits

A survey of 3,167 students that asked about their online shopping habits in 2018 revealed that 98% of students shop online.
Number of times online shopping Percentage of positive responses
Several times a week 11.9%
Once a week 33.5%
Once a month 35.6%
Several times a year 14.5%
Once a year or less 2.5%
Never 2.1%
Over 80% of students reported online shopping once a month or more, with almost a half reporting that they shop once a week or more.

What students are shopping for online

The graph below shows the products that students purchase online in one month.

Products Percentage of people
Clothes and accessories 64%
Tech and mobile 32%
Study supplies and stationary 31%
Health and beauty 30%
Going out 28%
Online shopping is primarily used for buying clothes and accessories, while less than a third of online shopping was dedicated to going out. In fact, 68% of students reported that their social life suffers as a result of their low budget.

Specific findings

  • 50% of 18-22-year-olds are likely to shop online once a week, compared to a lower 33% of 16-17-year-olds.
  • 46% of male students shop online once a week, compared to 44% of female students.
  • Females have a 23% increase on males when shopping online for clothes and accessories.
  • Males have a 22% increase on females when shopping online for tech and mobile purchases.

The specific findings show that there are discrepancies between online shopping for different age groups and genders. It may surprise you to find that 2% more male respondents reported to shopping online once a week than female respondents.


Save the Student

Click here for more research. For all media enquiries, please contact:

Matt Mckenna
UK communications manager
T: +44 20 8191 8806

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