Getting to that elusive student market is not easy but once you do, your brand may have secured a lifetime relationship. MARIA PETOUSIS gives the lowdown on TGi research into this market.
Music is central to students’ lives, as is DStv, but if they are going to watch movies, they prefer to do so at the cinema. They embrace new technology and enjoy watching entertaining television commercials as much as the programmes. Students are media multi-taskers and confident daily internet users. They often access the internet on their phones and social media plays an important role in their lives. The internet is their first port of call when looking for information and they are likely to shop online.
Ask Afrika, which conducts the Target Group Index (TGi) data collection in South Africa, reveals this information about 18-to-25-year-olds. According to the research, this age group spends on average R1 183 on clothing every three months and around R475 on a pair of jeans. They also spend around R141 per week on take away foods. Their monthly expenditure on cell phones averages R187, while the average value of a pre-paid voucher amounts to R41 and generally they recharge four times a month.
This analysis includes individuals aged 18 to 25 who are currently studying either full or part time. They are significantly more likely to fall into LSM 7 to 10, although 86.9% are not working due to studying full time and the majority have no personal income. Some 67.4% are dependent and still living with their parents and on average they have a monthly household income of R10 891.
The youth are important influencers on both peers and parents. Brands that are able to foster an engagement with students (or those in this market) are likely to establish long-term relationships with this group as it matures. The key lies in starting a conversation and finding useful ways of interacting with or appealing to young people.
Choice and variety are important for them as they like the idea of having a large selection of TV channels from which to choose. They cannot live without DStv (20.87%) and embrace newer technologies such as Video On Demand and digital television. They enjoy watching sports programmes such as soccer and wrestling. While they find television adverts as enjoyable as the actual programmes, advertising has to be interesting and entertaining so as not to annoy them.
Music forms a big part of students’ lives and they love listening to hip hop (27.86%), kwaito (24%), rap (17%) and pop music (16%). They are mostly medium users of radio (33.1%) and are likely to listen to radio for between half an hour to an hour on weekdays. Their favourite stations are Gagasi FM (30.42%) and YFM (21.09%). However, students are also listening to 5FM and Metro FM regularly.
They are avid and confident internet users, being great at media multi-tasking. Sixty percent of this age group have accessed the internet in the last 12 months and are most likely to do so every day. Internet access via mobile devices plays a big role in how the youth market uses the internet, with as many as 65% using their cellphones to visit the internet. More than half (52%) of them have used applications on their phones in the last month, while 50% have used Mxit on their phones. This group mostly chooses a new phone depending on advertising and they are more likely than most to own a BlackBerry.
The internet is an important source of information for them and is usually the first place they look when they need information. This indicates that although they are light users of print, they make up for it on digital platforms to obtain information and news. They also use the internet for educational purposes, online purchases, downloading computer software and games, as well as music.
Online advertising gives them access to information about brands and guides them in planning their purchases. This market is open to online shopping as they believe the internet creates a more convenient shopping experience and provides more choice and variety of things to buy. They are also confident in the safety of online shopping and banking.
The internet plays a big role in their social lives. Socialising and maintaining friendships are of great importance to them and they mostly facilitate this through Facebook and Twitter. They use social media to give or get the opinions of ‘friends’, and believe that social networking sites are good for personal relationships and socialising, to help rekindle old friendships, and to keep in touch with family.
Students enjoy the cinema: 37.4% have watched a movie on the big screen in the last year and they are significantly more likely to be heavy or medium users of cinema. They watch movies at cinemas. They are sold on the whole experience, which includes snacking on popcorn and drinking Coke. It is also clear that price is an important influencer on their decision. They are significantly more likely to belong to Ster Kinekor’s movie club and feel that the benefit of this offerings is good value for money. They are also more likely to travel further to a cinema that is more cost effective and are happy to wait to watch a movie in its second week if tickets are cheaper. They also enjoy advertising on the big screen.
Print media is the least consumed media platform by students who are mostly light users of magazines (37.2%) and newspapers (25.1%). This market is mostly interested in reading about entertainment (33%), music (32%) and celebrities (32%). The vernacular newspaper Isolezwe is the most read among students: 67% are most likely to read it once or twice a week. Students enjoy the lifestyle sections in the newspapers, believing these make newspapers more interesting. They read the motoring sections and classifieds. They prefer entertainment to heavy news in newspapers. Magazines play a friendship and guidance role for them, offering advice on health, beauty, fashion and relationships.
Brand owners and advertisers would be prudent to understand that the youth is an integral market. It is essential to start communication with this group through appropriate brand positioning within our ever-changing media landscape. Understanding the media consumption habits of 18-to-25-year-old students is vital to creating brand loyalty that could last a lifetime.
TGi research, for which Ask Afrika own the South African copyright, uses a single source sample of 15 000. It has a global geographic coverage of 67 markets and measures services and products, media and brands.
Maria Petousis is Ask Afrika’s director of TGi.
Image: Wikimedia Creative Commons